Woods Bagot serves up the nostalgia of ‘now’ at Melbourne’s new Next Hotel.
May 21st, 2021
While posted as 80 Collins Street, the Next Hotel by Woods Bagot (a collaboration with Netherlands-based studio UN) overlooks Little Collins Street. And as with Melbourne’s laneways, the path to the foyer of the hotel winds its way through the two street addresses.
“Our brief was to create a flagship hotel, one that captured the essence of the site and as importantly, its history,” says interior designer Isabel Munro, an associate at Woods Bagot.
However, the lift to the second floor and the reception area for the Next Hotel is certainly worth it. Understated, with just the right amount of glamour (a gold-mesh curtain behind the marble reception bench and a complementary gold-mesh chandelier inserted within the timber staircase), the colour palette is a deep spectrum of aubergine, metallic greens and earthy tones.
Deep leather-covered armchairs and lounges are found in the lounge area while faded finishes, including a highly grained marble in the separate club lounge (complete with business facilities), suggests the history of the site, halfway between Collins Street and Chinatown.
“We looked at the history of the immediate area. The site that we’re on was originally a horse bazaar (trading horses). But we were also drawn to the artistry of the Chinese migrants who came here during the gold rush of the 1850s – their finely crafted furniture and their beautiful ceramics,” says Munro.
Ceramics, both Chinese and by contemporary artists can be found on most shelves, in the restaurants and bars, and in the suites. Woods Bagot also included ceramic bedside tables so the memories of the past are also the last thing seen before the light switches are flicked off at night.
While history was forefront of mind, the design team used these references in a contemporary manner. Wired glass used in areas such as the bar in La Madonna, a nook where spirits are concocted, appear sin glass and steel cabinetry. And in the bedrooms, there are steel frames in which to hang one’s dressing gown.
“We were thinking of the type of structure that could equally support a horse saddle or a leather apron that the early artisans would have worn”. They were also conscious of the hotel’s location at the Paris end of town, where designer boutiques are dotted along Collins Street. So, against the more industrial aesthetic are finer and softer touches, such as a heavily woven Chanel-inspired tweed-covered bedhead.
Other areas within the Next Hotel have been treated with the same panache. The hotel’s restaurant, for example, also called La Madonna, features sumptuous leather banquette seats and comfortable well-padded chairs. And to create the right backdrop, artist Jodie Gray was commissioned to create a ceramic installation as tactile as the interior.
“We worked with design agency Studio Ongarato to engage local artists where possible, including work by Melbourne-based artist Jonny Neis in the guest suites,” says Munro, who was keen for those staying at the hotel to appreciate, from the moment they arrive, that this could only be Melbourne.
Keep up to date with the latest and greatest from our industry BFF's!
Woven Image’s new Fuji acoustic ceiling solutions demonstrate that creating a quiet space does not need to come at the cost of its aesthetic appeal.
Introducing Kabul Social, a new Afghan restaurant in Sydney’s CBD, whose concept and design tell the story of a meeting of cultures and a desire to make meaningful social change.
Whether it’s enhancing the sculptural volumes of the Cass Bay House, or creating a Piet Mondrian-like geometrical feature across the Pegasus Bay’s Esplanade Home, Neolith helps Massimiliano Capocaccia Architecture Studio augment the imaginative language of these coastal dwellings.
According to Le Corbusier, the struggle for it underpins the history of architecture. Frank Lloyd Wright described it as a “beautifier of buildings”. And Motoko Ishii famously equated it to life itself. Indispensable, life-affirming and metamorphic, light underpins all architectural and design efforts.
A statement showroom in the middle of Melbourne’s CBD gave Sculptform the opportunity to truly showcase its handcrafted philosophy and design credibility.
Thomas Bentzen presents a friendly and warm character, thoughtful in his responses, intuitive and just a little nostalgic in his approach to furniture solutions for modern working modes. Alice Blackwood meets Bentzen at the Muuto stand, at Orgatec.
A collaborative design project has delivered an elegantly layered hotel in Sydney. Take a tour with Public Design Group and George Gorrow of Ksubi.
The internet never sleeps! Here's the stuff you might have missed
In the regions, architects and those interested in the built environment are pooling their knowledge to help affect change. Jan Henderson introduces us to the Regional Architecture Association and what it does.
Sub Station No. 164 marries original industrial elements with a strikingly sculptural glass architectural statement. This new vision of the workplace celebrates wellbeing and sustainability – from Milliken’s high-performance carpet to circadian rhythm lighting.
Launched last week at Cult, Arent & Pyke’s book, ‘Interiors Beyond the Primary’, reveals just how diverse its output has been. And, as Gillian Serisier reports, how little of the signatured elements are actually repeated.