Recognising the best in design across restaurants, bars, cafes, hotels and more, the Eat Drink Design Awards are Australia’s only hospitality design honours, and 2019’s coveted trophies have just been handed out.
“From a pink-hued bar in a country town with barely over 2,000 people, to a future-focused CBD restaurant, this year’s winners are very geographically diverse, indicating that in Australia, good design transcends location. It’s something that has permeated out to our suburbs and our regional areas, which should be applauded,” says Cassie Hansen, editor of Artichoke magazine and jury chair.
And while there were winners across eight categories, these are our pick of the bunch.
Best Bar Design: Blacksmith Lake Mulwala by The Stella Collective (Mulwala, NSW)
Located in rural Mulwala, New South Wales, the Blacksmith interiors are sophisticated, elegantly restrained, and certainly not what you’d expect to find in the bush! “The proportions of the indoor/outdoor space are well controlled, with the palette and materials showing incredible restraint and elegance. This restraint allows the few pops of whimsy to have a greater impact: vintage-style pink patio umbrellas might get lost in a busier design, but here they evoke 1970’s Southern California without devolving into cliché,” say the judges.
Best Café Design: Via Porta by Studio Esteta (Mont Albert, VIC)
Located in Melbourne, this café and deli has a distinctly European vibe. “Meant to evoke the narrow alleyways of Italy, the floor is paved in stone offcuts procured from various suppliers and painstakingly fitted to create a unique and textured warmth. The sandy stones set the tone for the space’s lovely earth-hued palette, creating a feel that is tactile and intimate,” say the judges.
Best Hotel Design (joint winner): Drifthouse by Multiplicity (Port Fairy, VIC) & The Calile Hotel by Richards and Spence (Fortitude Valley, QLD)
We brought you the finalists in this category recently, and it comes as no surprise that the jury had a hard time choosing a winner.
Drifthouse is a small, boutique hotel in Victoria’s Port Fairy, and the property encompasses a double-storey Victorian bluestone house, an adjacent single-storey Edwardian home, and a newly built garden pavilion and reception centre. It’s a tricky mix that the designers got just right!
“This was one of the outstanding regional projects we saw this year, and we hope its marked ambition is a harbinger of things to come from Australia’s smaller communities,” say the judges.
We’re massive fans of Brisbane’s The Calile Hotel, and we’re not surprised to see it take out top honours. Something of an urban resort, its restrained colour palette and Insta-worthy interiors have already made it something of a modern Aussie icon. “The design works to conjure an impressive sense of luxe escapism, creating a resort atmosphere despite its intensely urban location,” say the judges.