hundreds of antiques, thousands of botanic debris, gorgeous murals, piano scores, spring, summer and fall crescendo throughout this neglected art deco mansion in melbourne. a dusty vanity reflects a gorgeous life. a dead telephone rests on a futon. the true secrets and joys confided here are lost, but for the sake of embracing melancholy head-on, teams of artists have toiled away in this mansion for 12 months, composing a space the way one might compose a somber song. part exhibition, part AR/VR experience, empire, sequels the success of the omega projectproduced by street artist, rone, at a much grander scale.

rone empire
all images courtesy of rone



empire is rone’s most ambitious project to date. omega similarly chased fleeting feelings of loss on the walls of an abandoned place, but not at this thematic scale. they collide so strongly that the pictures alone are strong enough to tell the story, — this immersive experience may truly immerse you, as you crunch on dry flowers and botanical installations by loose leaf studio and get caught in the tragic details from the mind and life of a mystery muse.

rone empire



empire is set amid a once-magnificent manor, the burnham beeches mansion. built in 1933, the estate has seen its uses from home to hospital, but for the last 20 years its just been shuttered. this life — this fictional woman in the murals played by lily sullivan — may not have existed, but countless others did. like every year, many gorgeous lives will wake on a summer morning and die in a winter night. in commentary to theses seasons of life, the muse’s murals shade from warm pinks, surrounded by sheet music to dim bed-frames and overrun vines.

rone empire



bespoke scents by kat snowden, lighting by john mckissock and compositions by nick batterham breathe life and death into the mansions rooms. but together they may cease to become rooms at all: a bittersweet story in the imagination of the viewer.

rone empire



‘when I first came up to check out the building I wasn’t sure what to expect,’ said rone of the property once owned by wealthy industrialist alfred nicholas. ‘once I got inside…it was quite overwhelming.’ 

rone empire



empire is open from march 6 – april 22, 2019 — amid the backdrop of melbourne’s autumn months. empire waits for you the way an empty theatre waits after the orchestra has left. in silence, the space waits for another song, the note of the last still humming.

rone empire empire

rone empire

rone empire

rone composes neglected art deco mansion into somber song of life and death

rone empire



project info


exhibition dates: march 6 – 22 april, 2019


location: burnham beeches mansion, 1 sherbrooke road, sherbrooke


tickets: day session — adult, $15; concession, $13; child, $10; evening session — adult, $25; concession, $13; child, $10 + booking fee




lily sullivan

loose leaf

kat snowden, scent design

john mckissock, lighting design

nick batterham, composition