SYDNEY - Wood is vital to the sustainability of the Martian Embassy and Gift Shop in Australia.

Martian Embassy? It's the creative front for the not-for-profit Sydney Story Factory, where students study creative writing.

Inspired by the likes of H.G. Wells and Stanley Kubrick, the Sydney Story Factory developed the Martian Embassy with the stated objective: "The concept is to awaken creativity in kids, so the design acts as a trigger, firing up the engines of imagination. It’s an intergalactic journey - from the embassy, at the street entrance, to the shop full of red planet traveler essentials, to the classroom. By the time kids reach the writing classes they have forgotten they are in “school.”

Wood Warms Martian EmbassySome 800 plywood panels were fabricated into custom components to create the Martian Embassy, designed by LAVA Laboratory for Visionary Architecture. A total of 1,068 ribs were nested on a CNC router by Redwood Projects, an architectural woodwork firm based in Sydney to create shelves, seats, benches, storage, counters and displays.

The completed project, winner of the 2012 Timber Design Awards, was a collaboration between Will O’Rourke and The Glue Society. The Martian Center's aura also includes sounds and smells from the Red Planet, plus unique Martian products like gravity inn a tin and "human" disguises sold at the gift shop to support the Sydney Story Factory.

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.