A Close Look at the Design of the CBD's Newest Boutique Hotel, QT Melbourne

Melbourne's newest boutique hotel is open — here's what it looks like.
Hudson Brown
Published on October 07, 2016

in partnership with

Hotels aren't often associated with the world of conceptual art and curated design — and it's even rarer that they pull the connection off. But QT Melbourne — the new hotel that just opened on the historic site of Russell Street's Greater Union Cinema — manages to merge specially commissioned video art, European furnishings and well-designed public spaces with a premium hotel experience pretty seamlessly. Developed over the past three years, the hotel's high-end design slots perfectly into the city's 'Paris end' and directly interacts with the site's distinctive arts and culture heritage.

The hotel's opening is a big one for Melbourne; while QT has hotels in Sydney, Canberra, Falls Creek and the Queensland coast, this is their first foray into Melbourne's boutique accommodation scene. As such, they had a mark to make. Here's how they did it.



QT is known for its interior design, and their 188-room Melbourne hotel is no different. The commitment to create an authentic arts experience was clear from the outset, with award-winning art advisor Amanda Love bringing together an eclectic array of visual delights. The director of New York- and Sydney-based art advisory LoveART, Love was voted Best Art Advisor 2010 at Sydney's inaugural Art Month Awards and has worked with a number of successful benefaction groups associated with both Sydney's Art Gallery of New South Wales and Museum of Contemporary Art.

QT Melbourne and Love have brought together a collection of acclaimed local and international artists whose work is showcased throughout the hotel's guest rooms, restaurants, bars and public spaces. Artists include Melbourne-born twin sisters and video art duo Gabriella and Silvana Mangano, renowned American installation artist Jennifer Steinkamp, Sydney-based site-specific artists Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro, video artist Grant Stevens, and conceptual installation pairing Janet Burchill and Jennifer McCamley.



Taking advantage of this world class mix of artistic talent, QT Melbourne's public spaces designer Nic Graham explains that "using a local story or sense of place" is essential to creating an appealing and modern hotel experience. Born and raised in Melbourne, Graham has enjoyed a multifaceted career working across architecture, furniture and product design. Following a number of internationally recognised projects, Graham moved to Sydney and founded design firm G+A in 1999. Inspired by Melbourne's iconic idiosyncrasies, Graham carefully considered the broader urban landscape of the city to instil guests with a unique sense of Melbourne life.

"For QT Melbourne, we used the story of the Paris-end of town, mixed with the inner-city laneways and rag trade culture," says Graham. "We also like to include a lot of local contemporary art, curious graphics and accessories – mix vintage with modern."

With more than 15 years experience in hotel design to call-on, Graham believes that what makes a hotel a truly enriching encounter is its attention to detail. Whether it is the delicate gold-studded metalwork detailing in the hotel's restaurant, Pascale Bar & Grill, or the ornamental French toile wallpaper seen throughout the restaurant, the contrast of materials used throughout the numerous spaces contributes to an overall feeling of warmth and familiarity.



Graham collaborated with guest rooms architect and design expert Shelley Indyk, and together they shaped several engaging public spaces inside QT Melbourne. Endeavouring to capture the features of Melbourne that make it one of the world's most creatively influential cities, they've pulled together an interior where exposed concrete and black steel sits alongside provocative graffiti-like graphics, and eye-catching LED digital art hangs from the ceiling reflecting the winding backstreets and alleyways throughout Melbourne's built environment.

This "industrial chic" style carries through into the hotel's 188 guest rooms, with Indyk describing the design as an "investigation of Melbourne city's character". Indyk and her design practice, Indyk Architects, were responsible for the conception and creation of each room's furniture. Collaboration with award-winning lighting designer Electrolight sees black powder-coated brass and metal light fittings, which is finished with oak timber floors.

While the brutalist façade of the Greater Union cinema is gone, its legacy is carried on through QT Melbourne's artistically considered design. 

QT Melbourne is located at 133 Russell Street, Melbourne. For more information, visit their website

Images: Alexandra Anderson. 

Published on October 07, 2016 by Hudson Brown
Tap and select Add to Home Screen to access Concrete Playground easily next time. x