Meet you at the Lobby: Interior Design at Next Hotel Melbourne
For most, it’s the green jade-like stone that first catches the eye, subtle underfoot as you step inward from the bustle of Little Collins Street in Melbourne CBD and into the cocoon of the concierge welcome. Sleek, smooth and surprising in its hue, the striking stone reflects the aesthetic of Next Hotel Melbourne, a stylish and sophisticated sanctuary developed with new era travellers in mind.
“Arrive at the second-floor reception where you’ll be transported to a slice of Milan meets Shanghai but also immersed in something uniquely Melbourne.”
Next Hotel Melbourne opened in March 2021, under the leadership of General Manager David Ness, who has honed his experience working in deluxe hotels around the globe, and who now is creating a new era of hospitality in his hometown.
“Next Hotel Melbourne is a great expression of the city – understated, eclectic and creative – the ideal ingredients to evolve what a luxury hotel experience can be.
“We set out to create a place that both Melburnians and visitors will want to be, stay, enjoy and have as their starting point of discovery, and I have to say that initial feedback has been delightful” David Ness.
In a few short months, Next Hotel Melbourne has self-assuredly assumed its place as a desirable destination for both Melburnians and visitors alike within the city’s newest and most dynamic address 80 Collins at the ‘Paris end’ of the city. Its refined blend of mid-century modern and old-world that challenges the expected, cocoons the visitor and prompts journeys of discovery has warmed the hearts of those who come to stay, dine or explore.
“The response from both locals and visitors is it feels like they’ve been transported to New York, maybe Milan, possibly Shanghai – yet they know they are somewhere distinctly Melbourne,” adds David.
The World-Class Team Behind the Interior Design
Reimagining the traditional five-star hospitality experience takes a very special kind of team and instrumental at Next Hotel Melbourne, has been the involvement of global architectural and consulting studio, Woods Bagot who led with architecture, interior design, and fitout in collaboration with Netherlands based, UN Studio and other local collaborators and artists.
“Woods Bagot’s brief was to position and define the Next Hotel brand within a city-redefining precinct; to create a flagship hotel, that captured the essence of the site and as importantly, its history,” Isabel Munro, Woods Bagot.
The very path to the ground floor Foyer of the hotel winds its way through two street addresses, just as Melbourne’s iconic laneways weave through the CBD.
Creating the future, looking first to the past
It’s a rich and uniquely Melbourne contextual source that Woods Bagot was able to draw on for all design decisions, one in which the concept of commerce, work and travel is deeply embedded.
Luxuriant cues came from the hotel’s neighbours within the ‘couture end’ of Collins Street, so-named for the bevvy of international and local fashion houses that call this iconic district home, and which have given rise to Australia’s largest Fashion event the Melbourne Fashion Festival.
Interior design cues were also taken from Melbourne’s Chinatown located on the doorstep, the longest continuous Chinese settlement in the western world and arguably one of the earliest expressions of work-based travel.
Intriguingly, the site itself was once the location of one of Melbourne’s historic Horse Bazaars, where horse auctions and trading took place in a city that thrived on the horse-drawn economy.
Fast forward to today and the striking, newly minted 24 story building risen from the site is an understated, elegant, and eclectic setting for local visitors and travellers alike.
Back to that green stone
The materials and colour palette throughout Next Hotel Melbourne were each carefully chosen by Woods Bagot interior designers with thought and consideration, to provide highlights and contrast, a sense of luxury and elegance at every turn, and an aesthetic that was both at once worldly but quintessentially Melbourne.
“Understated, with just the right amount of glamour, the colour palette is a deep spectrum of aubergine, metallic greens and earthy tones,” says Munro.
The green stone featured in the lobby and in the Next Rooms references Jade, a predominant material used within Chinese design, which sits alongside the use of deep reds and hints of marble, which together conjure the luxury of the Orient in the 1880’s.
Starting with embossing the word NEXT into the stone floor at the threshold at the entry level as nod to Asian architecture where thresholds are created when entering significant buildings, exceptional stone finishes feature throughout the property.
Guests are delighting in particular at the arresting, highly grained black and white marble in The Club, a space for working, meeting and recharging reserved for the hotel’s Club Suite guests and local members.
Chrome was deliberately omitted from all metallic finishes in the property in exchange for bronze and brass, metals typically found in Chinese and equestrian design.
Also nodding gently to old-world Oriental design cues, a striking, shimmery rose gold chain mesh floor to ceiling curtain provides a sumptuous yet simple backdrop to a statement green-hued marble reception desk.
Adjacent hangs a five-metre drop bespoke gold chain mesh chandelier suspended above the lobby’s staircase.
A raft of gold paint hues was carefully tested by the interior designers for the customised curtain and light fitting to ensure just the right tone and effect in the reception space that greets guest’s arrival. It was attention to detail well worth the effort – the striking effect has already become the recognisable design statement of the new hotel.
Interior Design Feature: Carefully commissioned curated furnishings
Hotel rooms and suites were created with a calming, cocooning mood in mind and desire to ensure Melbourne accommodation provided guests with a comforting, yet elegant residential feel. In a gentle nod to the ‘Paris end of Collins Street’ – detailed stitching and luxe, textured fabrics are featured on the customised bedheads along with ergonomic padded leather desk chairs and corridor floorings are inspired by Chanel with their tweed pattern and contrast. Soft buttery leather features extensively in rooms and furniture throughout the hotel including the third floor dining and drinking enclave La Madonna.
Subtle equestrian detailing can be found throughout too, especially with the design and construction of ‘tack wall’ inspired entry hall and wardrobe spaces in each guest room that provides carefully considered storage for guest’s travelling possessions and the all-important mini bar – in a similar style to storing bridles and hanging other riding accoutrement.
Meanwhile coloured cabinet linings and tables reference the lacquer finish of Chinese cabinets, and ceramic lighting adds further artistic touches. Carpets were also specially commissioned, drawing on visual motifs and references from Chinese antiquities to create custom-designed giant format rugs in warm jewel tones to be perfectly placed in the hotel’s Lobby areas and The Club.
Interior Design Feature: Eclectic and playful commissioned artworks
There is a great sense of calm comfort with cool discovery that envelops guests at Next Hotel Melbourne.
Intriguing artworks by Australian artists have been commissioned to feature throughout the hotel spaces, along with rooms and suites, adding another intriguing layer to the elegant aesthetic, while reflecting what is Next and Now within Australian culture.
“No more is this better exemplified than on the ground floor commissioning of Anna Dudek, who graduated from the National Art School in 2019. Her work focuses on light, shadow, and colour and how these are all affected by time, which captures so beautifully the spirit of NEXT Hotel as always being innovative and future thinking.
Meanwhile, Melbourne born visual artist Johnny Niesche’s abstract, minimal colour gradient pieces were commissioned to feature in a large format piece in The Club as well as in individual pieces in guest rooms.
The hotel’s lobby also provides the perfect backdrop for Consuelo Cavaniglia’s multi-dimensional mirrored works that distort and reflect light, as well as Julia Gorman’s large-format painting. Her commissioned abstract works also appear in hotel suites.