Exploring Melbourne, Australia

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May 19, 2011

No opera house. No Bondi Beach. No sunning celebs. This is Melbourne, home of Australia’s most thriving design scene.

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  Architect Andrew Maynard gives us a proper tour of Melbourne’s design scene, one that never loses sight of the big picture for all the fascinating nooks and crannies.  Photo by: João CanzianiCourtesy of: Joao Canziani
    Architect Andrew Maynard gives us a proper tour of Melbourne’s design scene, one that never loses sight of the big picture for all the fascinating nooks and crannies.

    Photo by: João Canziani

    Courtesy of: Joao Canziani

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  Docklands, a large new development just west of the Central Business District, is a big space full of big buildings that hopes to attract tenants—–residential and commercial alike—in part through design. The Webb Bridge by Denton Corker Marshall is meant to mimic an aboriginal eel trap and is a fine addition to the neighborhood.  Photo by: João CanzianiCourtesy of: Joao Canziani
    Docklands, a large new development just west of the Central Business District, is a big space full of big buildings that hopes to attract tenants—–residential and commercial alike—in part through design. The Webb Bridge by Denton Corker Marshall is meant to mimic an aboriginal eel trap and is a fine addition to the neighborhood.

    Photo by: João Canziani

    Courtesy of: Joao Canziani

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  The tight, trendy, and often gritty laneways like Croft Alley attract enough of a crowd that their seedy origins never really cause much of a problem. A bar at the end of Croft Alley, the Croft Institute, is a humming watering hole and an exemplar of the city’s laneway culture.  Photo by: João CanzianiCourtesy of: Joao Canziani
    The tight, trendy, and often gritty laneways like Croft Alley attract enough of a crowd that their seedy origins never really cause much of a problem. A bar at the end of Croft Alley, the Croft Institute, is a humming watering hole and an exemplar of the city’s laneway culture.

    Photo by: João Canziani

    Courtesy of: Joao Canziani

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  On the other end of the high-design, high-budget spectrum, Southern Cross Station designed by Grimshaw Architects, is all swooping roofs and open space. Rather a nice spot to get stuck should your train run late.  Photo by: João CanzianiCourtesy of: Joao Canziani
    On the other end of the high-design, high-budget spectrum, Southern Cross Station designed by Grimshaw Architects, is all swooping roofs and open space. Rather a nice spot to get stuck should your train run late.

    Photo by: João Canziani

    Courtesy of: Joao Canziani

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  Federation Square, a giant public plaza on the banks of the Yarra, manages to be both very high public design and a space where Melbourne actually gathers. The complex of buildings, by LAB Architecture, was the firm’s first built work.  Photo by: João CanzianiCourtesy of: Joao Canziani
    Federation Square, a giant public plaza on the banks of the Yarra, manages to be both very high public design and a space where Melbourne actually gathers. The complex of buildings, by LAB Architecture, was the firm’s first built work.

    Photo by: João Canziani

    Courtesy of: Joao Canziani

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  Vault is perhaps Melbourne’s most reviled piece of public art. Rechristened the “Yellow Peril” when it debuted downtown in 1980, Ron Robertson-Swann’s work has moved twice since then. Now it resides outside the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art.  Photo by: João CanzianiCourtesy of: Joao Canziani
    Vault is perhaps Melbourne’s most reviled piece of public art. Rechristened the “Yellow Peril” when it debuted downtown in 1980, Ron Robertson-Swann’s work has moved twice since then. Now it resides outside the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art.

    Photo by: João Canziani

    Courtesy of: Joao Canziani

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  Cheaper rents and a populace with a rather lively sense of discovery have helped catapult Melbourne’s previously disused laneways to the fore of the city’s life. Now, an average afternoon stroll through the Central Business District requires a quick dodge into a passageway like Centre Place for a quick coffee or a bit of people watching.  Photo by: João CanzianiCourtesy of: Joao Canziani
    Cheaper rents and a populace with a rather lively sense of discovery have helped catapult Melbourne’s previously disused laneways to the fore of the city’s life. Now, an average afternoon stroll through the Central Business District requires a quick dodge into a passageway like Centre Place for a quick coffee or a bit of people watching.

    Photo by: João Canziani

    Courtesy of: Joao Canziani

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  Melbournians take their food and drink as seriously as their design. Cafes, bars, and restaurants that pay as much attention to what’s on the menu as what surrounds it abound. Liaison Cafe has a friendly, well-executed interior tucked away on tiny Ridgeway Place. It’s on the bottom floor of the geometric Monaco House by architects McBride Charles Ryan.  Photo by: João CanzianiCourtesy of: Joao Canziani
    Melbournians take their food and drink as seriously as their design. Cafes, bars, and restaurants that pay as much attention to what’s on the menu as what surrounds it abound. Liaison Cafe has a friendly, well-executed interior tucked away on tiny Ridgeway Place. It’s on the bottom floor of the geometric Monaco House by architects McBride Charles Ryan.

    Photo by: João Canziani

    Courtesy of: Joao Canziani

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  Journal Canteen is decidedly more humble, though its rough interior and simple objects bespeak a charming sophistication.  Photo by: João CanzianiCourtesy of: Joao Canziani
    Journal Canteen is decidedly more humble, though its rough interior and simple objects bespeak a charming sophistication.

    Photo by: João Canziani

    Courtesy of: Joao Canziani

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  The headquarters of ANZ Bank are one of the big commercial anchors of the Docklands neighborhood. Its riverside location and large campus make it a fine addition to the rapidly developing part of town.  Photo by: João CanzianiCourtesy of: Joao Canziani
    The headquarters of ANZ Bank are one of the big commercial anchors of the Docklands neighborhood. Its riverside location and large campus make it a fine addition to the rapidly developing part of town.

    Photo by: João Canziani

    Courtesy of: Joao Canziani

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  I particularly liked the cakes and pastries at Liaison Cafe. In a city obsessed with coffee, the java brewed in this spot on Ridgeway Place is hot, hot stuff.  Photo by: João CanzianiCourtesy of: Joao Canziani
    I particularly liked the cakes and pastries at Liaison Cafe. In a city obsessed with coffee, the java brewed in this spot on Ridgeway Place is hot, hot stuff.

    Photo by: João Canziani

    Courtesy of: Joao Canziani

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  The owners of Liaison Cafe are about as affectionate and warm with their customers as this photo would have you believe.  Photo by: João CanzianiCourtesy of: Joao Canziani
    The owners of Liaison Cafe are about as affectionate and warm with their customers as this photo would have you believe.

    Photo by: João Canziani

    Courtesy of: Joao Canziani

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  The Webb Bridge in Docklands is a curving footbridge designed by Melbournian superfirm Denton Corker Marshall. It's meant to evoke an aboriginal eel trap.  Photo by: João CanzianiCourtesy of: Joao Canziani
    The Webb Bridge in Docklands is a curving footbridge designed by Melbournian superfirm Denton Corker Marshall. It's meant to evoke an aboriginal eel trap.

    Photo by: João Canziani

    Courtesy of: Joao Canziani

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  The Cathedral Arcade holds loads of Melbourne's shopping, including a delightfully unusual vintage store called Alice Euphemia. That's the shop where I scored my copy of the Melbourne Design Guide, which served as my tourist bible while I was there.  Photo by: João CanzianiCourtesy of: Joao Canziani
    The Cathedral Arcade holds loads of Melbourne's shopping, including a delightfully unusual vintage store called Alice Euphemia. That's the shop where I scored my copy of the Melbourne Design Guide, which served as my tourist bible while I was there.

    Photo by: João Canziani

    Courtesy of: Joao Canziani

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  Here's a portrait of Anna, staff at Alice Euphemia, in the Cathedral Arcade.  Photo by: João CanzianiCourtesy of: Joao Canziani
    Here's a portrait of Anna, staff at Alice Euphemia, in the Cathedral Arcade.

    Photo by: João Canziani

    Courtesy of: Joao Canziani

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  A fine bit of Gothic revival architecture, William Butterfield's St. Paul's Cathedral is seen here from Federation Square just across the street.  Photo by: João CanzianiCourtesy of: Joao Canziani
    A fine bit of Gothic revival architecture, William Butterfield's St. Paul's Cathedral is seen here from Federation Square just across the street.

    Photo by: João Canziani

    Courtesy of: Joao Canziani

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  Our photographer Joao Canziani always has a knack for spotting colorful locals. Here's a portrait he took on the street of a man called Bruce Rook in Chinatown. Melbourne prides itself on a more eclectic, forward-looking sense of style than its beachy cousin Sydney.  Photo by: João CanzianiCourtesy of: Joao Canziani
    Our photographer Joao Canziani always has a knack for spotting colorful locals. Here's a portrait he took on the street of a man called Bruce Rook in Chinatown. Melbourne prides itself on a more eclectic, forward-looking sense of style than its beachy cousin Sydney.

    Photo by: João Canziani

    Courtesy of: Joao Canziani

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  Flinders Street Station, just near Federation Square and St. Paul's Cathedral, is one of the city's main transit hubs.  Photo by: João CanzianiCourtesy of: Joao Canziani
    Flinders Street Station, just near Federation Square and St. Paul's Cathedral, is one of the city's main transit hubs.

    Photo by: João Canziani

    Courtesy of: Joao Canziani

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  The Citylink Freeway has all manner of massive sculpture and public art along it. This sculpture, which welcomes drivers to Melbourne, is by the architecture firm Denton Corker Marshall and went up in 1999.  Photo by: João CanzianiCourtesy of: Joao Canziani
    The Citylink Freeway has all manner of massive sculpture and public art along it. This sculpture, which welcomes drivers to Melbourne, is by the architecture firm Denton Corker Marshall and went up in 1999.

    Photo by: João Canziani

    Courtesy of: Joao Canziani

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  One of the most beloved buildings in all of Melbourne is the State Library of Victoria. In 1853, architect Joseph Reed won the commission to design the building. Perhaps most famous and lovely is its La Trode Reading Room. It also houses the armor worn by Aussie folk hero Ned Kelly.  Photo by: João CanzianiCourtesy of: Joao Canziani
    One of the most beloved buildings in all of Melbourne is the State Library of Victoria. In 1853, architect Joseph Reed won the commission to design the building. Perhaps most famous and lovely is its La Trode Reading Room. It also houses the armor worn by Aussie folk hero Ned Kelly.

    Photo by: João Canziani

    Courtesy of: Joao Canziani

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  Another bit of public art on the Citylink Freeway.  Photo by: João CanzianiCourtesy of: Joao Canziani
    Another bit of public art on the Citylink Freeway.

    Photo by: João Canziani

    Courtesy of: Joao Canziani

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  Upstairs from Journal Cafe is Journal Canteen, where the staff makes sure everything is in order. Designer Rabindra Naidroo took inspiration from 1930s Italian mess halls.  Photo by: João CanzianiCourtesy of: Joao Canziani
    Upstairs from Journal Cafe is Journal Canteen, where the staff makes sure everything is in order. Designer Rabindra Naidroo took inspiration from 1930s Italian mess halls.

    Photo by: João Canziani

    Courtesy of: Joao Canziani

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  Looking east from the Kings Way Bridge over the Yarra you can see the yellow tower of Flinders Street Station and the points of St. Paul's Cathedral beyond.  Photo by: João CanzianiCourtesy of: Joao Canziani
    Looking east from the Kings Way Bridge over the Yarra you can see the yellow tower of Flinders Street Station and the points of St. Paul's Cathedral beyond.

    Photo by: João Canziani

    Courtesy of: Joao Canziani

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  The Yarra River cuts right through town, as seen from this view from Swanston Bridge.  Photo by: João CanzianiCourtesy of: Joao Canziani
    The Yarra River cuts right through town, as seen from this view from Swanston Bridge.

    Photo by: João Canziani

    Courtesy of: Joao Canziani

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  Angelucci 20th Century Furniture Store has a couple locations in and around Melbourne. They specialize in vintage modern goods and have locations in the two inner suburbs of Fitzroy and Windsor.Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our  FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!   Photo by: João CanzianiCourtesy of: Joao Canziani
    Angelucci 20th Century Furniture Store has a couple locations in and around Melbourne. They specialize in vintage modern goods and have locations in the two inner suburbs of Fitzroy and Windsor.

    Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!

    Photo by: João Canziani

    Courtesy of: Joao Canziani

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