Feb 1, 2018

Why Melbourne should be a top destination for every design lover.

Sure, it doesn’t boast Sydney’s marvellous beaches but’s it’s right next to one of the most iconic scenic coastal drives in the world and it’s the cultural capital of Australia – so no one really cares.

But if you are a design junkie there is more than a reason to pay a visit – here is why Melbourne should totally be on the bucket list of every single creative soul and design lover:


Melbourne Design Guide

5 reasons to visit Melbourne if you are a design lover

 1 | In Melbourne, if you are a design lover, You’ll find inspiration everywhere:


From the vertigo-inducing skyscrapers and the quirky lanes of the Central Business District (CBD), to the charmingly shabby Victorian buildings dotting the high streets of its inner suburbs (don’t be fooled by the peeling paint though, they’re actually prime real estate), each neighborhood in Melbourne becomes a microcosm with a character of its own and each street a life-sized mood board for any designer to drool over and try to replicate in their own spaces.



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Cast iron lace is a feature that distingueshes Australian built landscape from the rest of the world


Australia’s architecture is truly magnificent and worth discovering and it is wonderfully celebrated in Melbourne. In my time there I often wondered if there is a kind of unspoken rule where each community member tries to adhere to the diverse yet cohesive aesthetics of the city as a whole, while personalizing and accessorizing its architecture. It is a charming effect. But in the unlikely event that this invisible creative energy won’t inspire you or it’s just too damp or hot outside to wander lost in its streets (Melbourne’s weather is infamously notorious for its 4-seasons-in-a-day tantrums), there is absolutely no need to despair.

Melbourne is Australia’s cultural capital for a good reason, that being because it hosts some of the Country’s top museums, art galleries, theatres and libraries which I can guarantee will never fail to feed your creativity and recharge your jet-lagged batteries.

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Fitzroy, arguably Melbourne’s hippest neighbourhood

2 | In Melbourne, there are an embarrassing amount of beautifully designed cafés and restaurants:


If you are after a design fix while sipping picture-perfect lattes you couldn’t choose a better place. Apart from the fact that now you are in Australia, so you should probably get yourself a flat white, the country’s hot drink of choice.


The sheer amount of drop-dead gorgeous cafeterias and restaurants could look ridiculous in any other city, but Melbournians take their coffees and food extremely seriously, so an imperturbable crowd is always ready to flock to the next foodie stop or anything that serves decent coffee, really. If you don’t trust me, check it on Broadsheet Melbourne, the online Melbourne city guide and undiscussed authority in deciding what’s hot and what’s not in the city and beyond.



You could pack up your laptop and work while nibbling in a state of the art eatery, possibly in a converted warehouse, or go the old-fashioned way and bring your sketchpad and sit outside one of the tiny cafés in Centre Place, the city’s most hectic lane, while devouring a $4 baguette – or even elbow your way through one of the street food stalls at the Queen Victoria Market. Your call.


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Higher Ground Melbourne
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Dukes Coffee Roasters in Flinders Lane, an all-time favourite in the CBD


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The atmosphere around Degraves St in the CBD
The atmosphere in Prahan, Windsor area, melbourne design guide, best cafe melbourne
The atmosphere in Prahan, Windsor area
The Kettle Black, South Melbourne, melbourne design guide, best coffee shop melbourne, where to eat
The Kettle Black in South Melbourne might hide away under tall, modern buildings, but it definitely doesn’t go unnoticed
The Kettle Black, South Melbourne, melbourne design guide, best coffee shop melbourne, where to eat
The Kettle Black, South Melbourne

3 | In Melbourne, You can literally shop until you drop:


You’ve faced Melbourne’s unforgiving weather and queued for your coffee and food and that calls for some serious retail therapy, specifically for interior décor (not that you wouldn’t be able to find a gazillion fashion boutiques out there, but we are on an interior design blog after all).

Australia is a young country with a no-worries attitude and which generally doesn’t take itself too seriously. When browsing through some of the city’s best-known décor shops, I could see how this spirit resonated in their style, no matter if that is more or less minimalist or maximalist: the spaces they create are all somewhat fun, easy-going and well lived-in.


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Fenton&Fenton is now one of my favourites interior decor shops in the world
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Fenton & Fenton, Melbourne design shop


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Milk & Sugar is loved by interior decorators and it offers a range of simple yet well designed range of soft furnishings
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The romantic and bohemian The Family Love Tree definitely deserves a visit
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MONOLAB, a Japanese craft store, located in South Yarra
MONOLAB melbourne japan craft store, melbourne design shops, italianbark interior design blog
MONOLAB, Melbourne Japanese craft store


If you are too afraid to splurge, then you could still hit the many markets or Op Shops (short for Opportunity Shops, generally a thrift shop run by a charity organization) which sell plenty of vintage & Australiana that would add that bit of quirk to any space and that you can totally snatch up for a bargain.


The Chapel Street Bazaar, Melbourne furniture shops, vintage retro furniture
The Chapel Street Bazaar, Melbourne
A cute find in one of Prahan’s many Op Shops

4 | While in Melbourne, you can’t miss The (rooftop) bars:


Okay, okay. I already mentioned cafés and restaurants, but trust me when I say that bars in Melbourne are in a league of their own.

Some of them are secret, each of them has a story to tell and at least 2/3 of them discretely (or not) hide a rooftop area, perfect for sipping the balmy nights away and admiring the pretty surroundings from above. These figures is totally speculative, but I seriously do believe that there are more rooftop bars in Melbourne alone than in the whole of Europe.


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Curtin House, also affectionately known as one of Melbourne vertical laneways, features one of Melbourne’s most popular rooftops as well another bar and a shopping precint
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Curtin House
Atico in Windsor, Melbourne Design Guide
Atico in Windsor
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The charming Holy Grail was refurbished to resemble a pirate ship

5| Visit Melbourne, and meet The people:


Melbourne wouldn’t be the cool kid it is without that wonderfully eclectic bunch that are Melbournians.

The most amazing part of being a creative person in this city is that you are surrounded by a staggering amount of like-minded people with all sorts of interesting backgrounds. So don’t be afraid to chat to the person that is sitting next to you in the café, to who is working in your favorite shop, to the tourist you “accidentally” elbowed at the market or to the bartender, asking what’s your favourite thing to have on toast in the morning so he can invent a cocktail you will truly, truly love. You won’t regret it.

In fact, the best thing about Melbourne is its people. Each of them carries a little bit of magic that makes up the spirit of this vibrant city and if you are lucky enough you can carry a little bit of that magic back with you, too.


All images Ph Benedetta Martini

Melbourne Design Guide | Addresses

Where to Drink Coffee:

  • Higher Ground, 650 Little Bourke St, Melbourne
  • Dukes Coffee Roasters, 247 Flinders Ln, Melbourne
  • The Kettle Black, 50 Albert Rd, South Melbourne

Where to Shop for furniture and design:

  • Fenton&Fenton, 471 High Street Prahran
  • Milk&Sugar,  207 Chapel Street Prahran
  • The Family Love Tree, 508 Malvern Rd, Prahran
  • MONOLAB, 36 Toorak Rd, South Yarra
  • The Chapel Street Bazaar, 217 Chapel St, Prahran

Where to drink in a rooftop bar:

  • Curtin House252 Swanston StMelbourne
  • Atico, 144 Chapel Street, Windsor, Melbourne
  • Holy Grail, 67 Chapel St, Windsor, Melbourne

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