Melbourne is the unofficial design capital of the Southern Hemisphere! Way down where the wild things are is this stylish and super creative meeting place that blends classic, cool design, with an irreverent spirit and technical nous. There’s world-class art, fashion, music and architecture, and a whole whack of independent, free-spirited designers dishing it upside down. In the 19th century, this area which once harbored convicts, was rushed by gold and glamour; today the “world”s most liveable city” is a practical playground of good design.
Here you will find a list of the best design places to visit in Melbourne, from the most glamorous hotels and restaurants to the best design and art galleries where you hunt some of the Australian culture.
Hotels and Resorts
The Prince hotel, in the edgy and bohemian St Kilda district of Melbourne, simply oozes cool from the moment that your cab pulls up outside its art deco façade. Its simply decorated communal spaces are moody and sophisticated, the rooms are stylish and comfortable and the Aurora Day Spa offers one of Victoria’s most luxurious and relaxing experiences.
Set on Melbourne’s prestigious Chapel Street, The Olsen Hotel offers travelers premier South Yarra accommodation with 229 elegant five-star suites that are infused with the lyrical works of revered Australian Landscape artist Dr John Olsen. Breathtaking mural and sculpture greet you on arrival and large prints adorn all hallways and suites. This boutique Melbourne hotel is complimented by a day spa and two delicious restaurants; you will be reveling in the Art of Creature Comforts.
With skyline views of Melbourne, boutique hotel The Cullen takes its cue from the art of the late Australian enfant terrible Adam Cullen, offering cool contemporary rooms starring original paintings and prints, two tasty restaurants, a bar, Smart cars and bespoke bikes. Shopping addicts will love the fashionable Prahran location too, opposite the food market.
Chic, seductive and sophisticated, the Lyall Hotel and Spa is where Carrie from Sex and the City would stay in Melbourne if she were in town. Set in upscale shopping neighbourhood South Yarra, its classy cocktail of sleek rooms, sensual day spa and intimate champagne bar, mixed with handy retail therapy, is perfect for girls or guys seeking a stylish mini-break.
Outré Gallery is Australia’s original alternative gallery dealing in contemporary international pop, lowbrow, pop surrealism and underground art. Australia’s original alternative gallery dealing in contemporary international pop, lowbrow, pop surrealism and underground art. We dig art that crosses over with design.
Established in 2000 on River Street in South Yarra, Nellie Castan Gallery is committed to supporting and representing significant emerging and mid-career contemporary artists. Dedicated to the promotion of work across all contemporary media, Nellie Castan Gallery has held over 200 exhibitions and participated in a number of national and international art fairs.
Gould Galleries has exhibiting premises in Melbourne, and professionally advises private, institutional, corporate, and international clients with regard to the formation, development and management of their art collections.
The philosophy and practice of the gallery is to exhibit only the finest quality in Australian and International art. We represent a select group of Australia’s most dynamic contemporary artists and have an extensive range of works for sale by Australia’s most important 19th and 20th century artists including Howard Arkley, Charles Blackman, Arthur Boyd, Rupert Bunny, Sir William Dobell, Sir Russell Drysdale, Rosalie Gascoigne, Norman Lindsay, Fredrick McCubbin, Sir Sidney Nolan, John Perceval, Tom Roberts, Jeffrey Smart, Sir Arthur Streeton, Albert Tucker, Fred Williams and Brett Whiteley.
Mary Long and Jos Van Hulsen, first set up Post Industrial Design back in 1995 in the dusty streets of Richmond. Now residing in the inner west of Melbourne with their two children, a goldfish and a dog, Jos and Mary’s love for the local community has lead them to set up shop again, this time in Barkly St West Footscray.
Jos sets the mood with his amazing designs. Beds, lighting, coat racks and dining tables are just a few of his creations. To complement his work, Mary scours the country for other beautiful things. Hand crafted jewellery, bags, tea towels, cushions, soaps, cards, kids gifts, jam’s and pickles. Many unusual hand made items can be found in store and you can always find a treasure even on a tiny budget.
In the heart of North Melbourne’s burgeoning food precinct sits Sosta Cucina, a welcoming space delivering fine Italian cuisine with warm and familiar service. Since opening its doors in May 2007, Sosta Cucina has consistently impressed and excited Melbourne’s food community with a traditional meets contemporary Italian menu.
Sosta Cucina’s menu is constantly evolving; incorporating the best seasonal produce as well as showcasing fantastic Italian products. Sosta prides itself on a great selection of fine Italian wines as well as offering a broad selection from Australia’s most renowned wine regions.
Taxi Dining Room is widely recognised as one of Melbourne’s best restaurants. The perfect place to entertain interstate and international guests or celebrate a special occasion. Awarded The Age Good Food Guide ‘Wine List of the Year’ and Two Chefs Hats in 2010, executive chef, Tony Twitchett’s contemporary fusion of Japanese and Australian cuisine has been embraced with gusto by Melburnians.
Located on Bourke Hill in Melbourne’s Little Italy, Bottega’s cosy, welcoming ambience, plush leather seats & soft lighting, has made it a long time favourite haunt for CBD diners. Serving some of Melbourne’s best modern Italian food with a premium selection of local & imported wines, the menu is extensive & well chosen with dishes such as housemade strozzapreti with clams, mussels, prawns & calamari or Roasted Western Plains pork costolette, apple & cabbage salad, apple balsamic, crispy crackling.
The dining space serves not just to delight and surprise the palate, but the eye too, featuring art curated by Utopian Slumps Director Melissa Loughnan. The exhibition program is a living, breathing, ongoing entity – changing with and complementing Circa’s seasonal menu. The days of autumn bring a rich palette as the leaves change and fall. It’s colour that captivates – those rich jewel hues – on the plate, too. Quinces, apples, chestnuts, heirloom zucchinis, Jerusalem artichokes, log grown shiitake mushrooms and pumpkin are the boastful bounty of the season.