A woman stands, smiling, in front of a colourful backdrop. She is wearing a pink top

You can’t buy happiness, but a trip to Sugar Republic is the next best thing. And never one to settle for just one scoop, Australia’s sweet-as-sugar interactive exhibition is BACK in Melbourne — and has also now landed in Sydney!

We first sweet talked with artist and creator Allison Jones back when Sugar Republic first launched  in July. She’s now treated us to another interview — because there’s always room for more dessert.

Two women stand in front of a colourful backdrop. They look very happy, with arms held out. The woman on the right is looking off camera

Image courtesy of Lucas Dawson.

What’s new for Sugar Republic this time around?

In Melbourne, we have recreated all of the favourites such as the ball pit and confetti cake but with a whole new twist. In fact, Melbourne has the largest sky high infinity ball pit in Australia!  We’ve also introduced some amazing new installations including the Milk Bar created by artist Callum Preston, a honey room, sweet dreams bedroom, liquorice installation with distinct liquorice smell, a very cute Arnott’s biscuit house and Hubba Bubba bubble gum room. It’s a whole new look but — of course —  with the same flavour.

After a long wait, Sydney-siders can at last experience Sugar Republic for the first time. It has its own personality including a Sydney flavoured neon-wall from Electric Confetti and a fabulous round ball pit. For both, it’s all about the sweet memories, fun colour, Insta-worthy eye-candy and an escape from everyday reality — we bring a smile to people’s dial!

People play in a giant, colourful ball pit overlooking the city.

Image courtesy of Sugar Republic.

I’ve read that you’ve said that Sugar Republic and all the sweet treats involved is like a way of returning to childhood. What were your favourite lollies when you were a child?

I grew up in the UK and always loved a bag of mixed lollies. Treats like Frogs in a Pond were also a favourite and we have created some of these as an ode to this memory for the Melbourne event.  I’ve also loved so many of the Australian brands of old like Darrell Lea, Iced-VoVo’s and of course Bubble O Bill ice-creams!

A side view of colourful neon lights — including wavy lines, jelly beans, and a typographic 'YUM! YUM! YUM!'

Image courtesy of Lucas Dawson.

This time, Sugar Republic is featuring a milk bar art piece from Callum Preston and a gallery from Eamon Donnelly. What drew you to their work?

The whole idea of the Australian milk-bar is something I love and sadly feel is fading away.  Both Callum and Eamon have captured the spirit of the classic milk-bar and in the case of Callum, re-created the exterior within our event.  It’s really like stepping down memory lane even down to the old newspaper headlines.  Eamon has been working on his Milk Bars Book for four years and his photographic exhibition is really exciting and interesting.  We’re proud to have these as additions to the fun and know they will bring back sweet memories for people.

A box of sweets divided into sections. Sweets included iced vovo biscuits, musk sticks and liquorice bullets

Image courtesy of Lucas Dawson.

Aside from sweet treats, what else makes you feel as happy and energised as a child who just ate a big bag of lollies?

Seeing people come in and enjoy Sugar Republic! I also love quirky, retro designs and anything that’s sweet to the eye.

A girl stands in a fake milk bar. She is walking amongst a stripy soft doorway

Image courtesy of Lucas Dawson.

Sugar Republic is now open in Sydney and Melbourne.