Australia’s best new hospitality designs revealed

Blacksmith at Mulwala in NSW won ‘Best Bar Design’ at the 2019 Eat Drink Design Awards. Picture: Lillie Thompson
Blacksmith at Mulwala in NSW won ‘Best Bar Design’ at the 2019 Eat Drink Design Awards. Picture: Lillie Thompson

Australia’s most stunning hospitality spaces have again been recognised at the annual Eat Drink Design Awards.

Featuring pubs, restaurants, bars, hotels, cafes and other hospitality venues, the awards pay homage to the new and exciting spaces to have been unveiled across Australia over the past 12 months.

Here’s a selection of the winning venues you can visit right now.

Best Bar Design – Blacksmith, Mulwala NSW

One of the bar spaces at Blacksmith. Picture: Lillie Thompson.

Set within the property’s pre-existing mid-century buildings, Blacksmith’s design by The Stella Collective is intended to evoke memories of Aussie holidays of the 1960s and ’70s.

Those vintage-style pink patio umbrellas provide the most obvious throwback, but the judges also lauded the bar’s considered use of space.

“There’s a flexibility to the multiple spaces and configurations that is quite clever, and the designers specifically worked to create a plan that might easily expand as the business grows,” their comments say.

Best Restaurant Design – Di Stasio Citta, Melbourne CBD

The very minimalist approach at Di Stasio Citta.

Art installation or dining room?

Melbourne’s Di Stasio Citta and designers Hassell took a boldly minimalist approach to designing its new eating space on Melbourne’s Spring St.

With no exterior signage and blank stucco walls with no switches, power points or control panels, and speakers that are blended into door frames, it’s a guest experience that few diners will ever have seen before – and may never again.

“As much art installation as dining room, this project is so unique that the jury posits it will be impossible to imitate,” the judges say.

Best Hotel Design – Drifthouse, Port Fairy VIC

Drifthouse hotel at Port Fairy. Picture: Martina Gemmola.

Drifthouse hotel at Port Fairy. Picture: Martina Gemmola.

You don’t have to be a major brand or a huge operation to make noise in the hotel industry.

Encompassing a double-storey Victorian bluestone house, an adjacent single-storey Edwardian home and a newly built garden pavilion and reception centre, Drifthouse at Port Fairy on the Victorian coast makes memorable use of natural materials and a pared-back approach.

The project used reclaimed wood and stone from a local quarry to help create the boutique six-suite hotel, and the judges were wowed by the properties communal spaces, which encourage guests to mingle when they’re not retreating to their own rooms.

Best Retail Design – Piccolina, Collingwood VIC

Piccolina gelateria in Collingwood. Picture: Shannon McGrath

Piccolina gelateria in Collingwood. Picture: Shannon McGrath.

Designing an ice creamery is almost an art form in itself these days, and Hecker Guthrie clearly nailed the pitch with their new fitout for Melbourne gelateria Piccolina.

Making use of raw materials and incorporating elements of the historic building in which it sits, while the judges loved the way the space transports patrons back to gelato’s true home.

“The result is understated but beautiful, and evokes Southern Italy – a specific request of the client – without blunt literal interpretation