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The Best New Melbourne Spaces of 2021

We've rounded up the most stunning buildings and venues unveiled in Melbourne this year.
By Concrete Playground
December 16, 2021
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By Concrete Playground
December 16, 2021
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THE BEST NEW MELBOURNE SPACES OF 2021

We've rounded up the most stunning buildings and venues unveiled in Melbourne this year.

Here in Melbourne, we sure love our food and our booze, happy to celebrate some great cooking and a top-notch cocktail list any night of the week. But we're also a city with a strong sense of style and penchant for design, which inspires the creation of some truly stunning spaces; from beautiful bars and luxury hotels, to restaurants as revered for their interiors as for their food.

And 2021 has gifted us with some absolute beauties, including an art-filled rooftop hideaway, the long-awaited opening of 80 Collins' most glamorous resident yet, and a hotel pool and lounge bar with million-dollar views.

We've pulled together a list of our six favourite spaces that have emerged in Melbourne this year. These are the settings that'll win you over with breathtaking visuals, award-winning design work or exciting new areas to explore.

  • 6

    The Melbourne Marriott Hotel Docklands opened its doors this year, becoming the suburb’s only five-star hotel. Its 189 luxury rooms are kitted out with features like ‘retail-inspired wardrobes’ and 55-inch LCD TVs, while the overall design aesthetic of the petal-shaped building is inspired by the contours of a yacht, featuring sleek curves aplenty. Expect curated art installations and sculptured statement pieces peppered throughout the site, with a slew of stylish hospitality venues onsite.

    Of course, the swankiest is the rooftop infinity pool and adjoining Palm Springs-inspired lounge bar Sunset House. Up here, you’ll be swimming in a 28-metre wet-edge pool or lounging on a day bed enjoying cocktails and exceptional views. Further style inspo comes courtesy of all-day restaurant Archer’s, cafe Corsia and sophisticated cocktail lounge Ada’s.

    Image: Dianna Snape

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  • 5

    For its latest iteration, QT Melbourne‘s rooftop hideout has been reimagined as a vibrant, Italian-inspired oasis embodying the motto of la dolce vita. The new-look Secret Garden is serving up Euro-inspired snacks, vino, tunes and loads of bold art until the end of summer.

    King Valley’s Dal Zotto Wines headlines an all-Victorian offering of eats and drinks, with the winemaker pouring a selection of its Italian-leaning drops — , that includes plenty of prosecco.

    While you’re sipping and snacking beneath the festoon lights, you’ll also get to soak up the large-scale artistic offerings of artist Rowena Martinich, with her vibrant works transforming the walls with stunningly vivid strokes of colour.

    Images: Hayden Dib

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  • 4

    When it comes to creating smash-hit venues in stunning spaces, legendary chef Andrew McConnell knows what’s what. He’s the mind behind favourites like Cumulus IncCutler & Co and Marion, to name a few. And he’s done it again with Gimlet — a cocktail bar and restaurant in the CBD’s 1920s heritage building Cavendish House. While it originally launched in 2020, thanks to lockdowns this is the first year anyone’s had much of a chance to experience its magic.

    Sydney-based architecture and design studio Acme (The Grounds Of Alexandria) is behind the fitout, which nabbed a commendation in this year’s Eat Drink Design Awards. It sees the historic space filled with black and gold marble bars, leather booths, geometric tiles and honeycomb chandeliers inspired by famed Italian architect Carlo Scarpa.

    Image: Sharyn Cairns

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  • 3

    Opened in the sparkling 80 Collins dining precinct, this much-anticipated venture from Chris Lucas (Chin Chin) is sporting a timeless (and dramatic) aesthetic that fuses elements of art deco, mid-century, art nouveau and brutalist sensibilities. The high-impact look plays out across its two restaurants — Society Dining Room and Lillian Terrace — plus the upmarket Society Lounge bar and various other private spaces.

    It’s the vision of Melbourne designers Russell & George, who worked closely with Lucas to create something that would have a deep connection to the city. They designed every element from the chairs to the dazzling chandeliers, the spaces complemented by a curation of works by Victorian artist David Noonan.

    Image: Tom Blachford

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  • 2

    2021 saw Jason M Jones’ Parisian diner Entrecôte bid farewell to its historic South Yarra digs and making the move to a new home in Greville Street, with the space imagined by partner, renowned designer Brahman Perera.

    This latest iteration revives Entrecôte’s trademark aesthetic while heralding a new direction. The fitout showcases an opulent fusion of elements classic and modern, a healthy collection of fine art and plenty of bold colour. Fancy fireplaces and oak wall panelling have been imported from France and a glamorous private event space is modelled on a Parisian pied-à-terre (aka an apartment). Get set for many a champagne and live jazz session here.

    Top Image: Lillie Thompson

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  • 1

    Local distillery and booze-free gin producer Brunswick Aces have opened the city’s first-ever, dedicated non-alcoholic bar. In a 150-person Brunswick East space, the Brunswick Aces Bar is both a temptation-free drinking destination for the teetotaller or sober-curious, and a generally neat spot to hang and imbibe when alcohol’s simply not on your night’s agenda.

    It’s rocking a look best described as industrial baroque, with lots of plush furniture covered with velvety textiles, walls filled with gilded frames and moody floral arrangements trailing from the ceiling. And what’s more, since you won’t be on the bevs, you’ll be able to properly enjoy the space in all its glory.

    Image: Griffin Simm

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Top Image: Society, by Tom Blachford

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