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PHOOEY’s Up-cycling Initiative

Melbourne Now, a cultural exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria saw over 400 artists come together and curate spaces to herald a new era of the city’s design community. Representing architecture saw PHOOEY architects in collaboration with artist Tim Fleming of FLATLAND OK commissioned to create the primary children’s space: Trugo-GoGo.




Trugo-Go-Go was a project dedicated to the indigenous Melbourne sport Trugo – a croquet-style game developed by Newport railway workers in the 1920’s that saw men use mallets to hit rubber buffers from train carriages into a goal. Trugo was originally played inside the train carriage but is now an outdoor game with eight clubs from an initial 16 remaining active in Melbourne today.


Trugo @ NGV_04


The design objectives for the Trugo-GoGo saw Ho first focus on the children that would play within the space and an area for parents to participate or spectate.

“One of the beautiful things about having children (and as a parent) is that all you really want to be able to find is a place where you can just sit down, chill out and let them go nuts!” Said Ho. “And we thought, why not do that inside the National Gallery of Victoria?”

“The other part of the brief was recognising the social history of the game as part of Melbourne which was very important,” explained Ho who is keen to see the sport reignite across Melbourne.


Trugo @ NGV_03


The other side to this story is the sustainable aspect which meant utilising a host of environmentally friendly materials including primary supplier Gibbon Group whose Tretford carpet in hues of vivid green were rolled out to create the “lawn landscape” for the game and bunched in sections to define each players “pitch”.

In terms of its green credentials, Tretford features a composition of renewable fibers from its construction right down to the production processes making it ideal as the core fit out material.


Trugo @ NGV_02


While the project required the extensive use of second-hand materials, Ho reiterated the importance of recognising that the space was temporary and being innovative about re-use upon the completion of the exhibition was essential and a directing decision when choosing Tretford carpet.

“We chose Tretford carpet because it was extremely durable and we knew it was only going to be in there for a short period of time,” he said. “We knew we could then also pull it out and then reuse it into something else. So we designed it to be sized in a way that the materials could be easily reused. “It’s not about changing it any kind of way but giving it an alternative life.”


Trugo @ NGV_01


Ho is now in talks with Gibbon Group and other suppliers about the future of the materials which have since been removed. There are opportunities for fit outs and a possibility of creating a range of bespoke rugs in collaboration with Gibbon Group using the Tretford carpet.

Reusing carpet has become an integral part of the PHOOEY mission for ‘zero waste’ in its projects and his Carpet Couch projects are a testament to that principle. Trugo-GoGo also reflects the sustainable objectives of PHOOEY who are in the business of re-use that moves beyond a common culture of passing them onto someone else to “deal with”.


For more information on Tretford within Australia, contact your local representative from Gibbon Group | Architectural on 1300 245 404 or email :