It’s not only your insides that will be cleansed after a visit to the chic new Melbourne health and wellness venue Greenfields, but your eyeballs too. Designed by Alex Zabotto-Bentley, of AZB Creative, the tranquil, textured aesthetic is primarily about bringing the outside in but it takes inspiration from chic spaces in Byron Bay, Miami, Barcelona and Buenos Aires too.
“The wonderful owner Simon Digby wanted to create a space that was part Byron Bay and part Miami but incorporated the signature AZB creative. The brief was to translate the very outdated existing venue into an urban resort and this was a mighty challenge, but we are so thrilled with the result,” says Alex of the venue that sits in the gorgeous Albert Park parklands and has lake views too. “It’s your dream vacation house, but it’s big enough for all of your friends too,” says Alex.
And with relaxation at the forefront, Alex was careful to work with soothing, tranquil hues. “It’s a lifestyle space that can encompass yoga and meditation sessions, music, inspirational talks and long, lazy lunches. I felt that it was paramount to use a palette of soft colours. The slubby greys, pumice and mint shades are relaxing and partner perfectly with the verdant, lush plants. The whole effect is warm, human and relaxing – the space has a soul and a sense of history,” says Alex. It’s an effect that is complemented by industrial windows that are framed in a powder coated soft pumice colour. “The powder coater had never done anything of the sort to industrial windows so that was a definite curve ball but the result is amazing! The view of the lake, the rolling terrain of the golf course and the landscape of trees is softened by this putty coloured clean framing of the windows. It’s almost like there are picture frames of every scene,” says Alex.
The project also provided the perfect opportunity for Alex to showcase his custom encaustic tiles, complete with worn, old world patinas. “I was inspired by recent travels to old-world cities like Barcelona and Buenos Aires, where lifestyle is at the centre of design. I fell in love with the idea of a lofty warehouse combined with large terraced spaces in those cities. I was excited to channel those large old Spanish warehouses and hand design a collection of tiles for Greenfields,” says Alex. The venue’s rustic pots, hand-knotted reed ceilings, rattan pendant shades and recycled timber only adds to the textured, lived-in effect.
“The abundance of greenery was another key element. We planted lush greens in antique ceramic water vessels from Turkey, antique gesso conch shells from Italy and giant terracotta pots by local ceramicists. A mix of small trees and tropical greens help to bring the outside in too,” says Alex.
The wellness venue offers a pet-friendly holistic eatery (complete with a special ‘clean’ doggy menu!), function venue, yoga and meditation. “I just love the energy we have created in this beautiful space. It’s a space to breathe. I think we get so caught up in the daily grind, that this place, so close to the city centre, is a real retreat. The details were layered to build a warm, tactile environment, which helps people to relax and connect with each other,” says Alex.