Comedians and design aficionados Tim Ross and Kit Warhurst are currently touring their Motel show around Australia, mixing comedy and song as they take the audience through a nostalgic look into Australia's motel craze in the 1950s. 

Ross’s fascination lies with motel architecture and modernism – its influence on and reflection of modern culture. Not many typologies speak to that connection better than the classic motel, he says. 

The Alexander Motor Inn was host to the Melbourne leg of the tour. This is a 1960s motel that famously became a hideout for the world’s most famous train robber Ronnie Biggs, who carried out the Great Train Robbery of 1963.   

SJB director Tristan Wong and senior creative Aaron Puls were invited to curate an experiential installation for their Melbourne show at the motel.

05_MOTEL-Ronnie-s-Room-_Aaron-Puls_SJB.jpgPhotography by Aaron Puls

Created as a comedic spoof, the installation plays on the happenings of ‘Ronnie’s Room’ during his stay at the Motel in the late 1960s. 

“Ronnie was a real character – a train robbing, prison-escaping, sweet talker turned celebrity who was at large for 35 years until he turned himself in for his crimes. Designing the installation experience in his old room at the Alexander Motor Inn was a unique and humorous experience,” says Tristan.

Bathed in a welcoming neon red glow, the installation featured a surreal mix of cash wads, projection art, lipstick and the smell of cheap perfume which also talked to the transient nature of both Ronnie and motel culture more broadly.

The Motel tour continues with shows booked at Riverfront Motel & Villas in Hobart, The Sydney Boulevard Hotel, Sydney, and the Art Gallery of Western Australia in Perth. 

For tickets, visit Man About the House.

Pictured: Tim Ross and Kit Warhurst. Photography by Aaron Puls