Melbourne, Australia, is a city. Melbournians embrace the outdoors and love cultural events, eating out, visiting galleries, spending some time at the beach and playing just about any kind of sport. In reality, Melbourne was named the most scenic city of 2012 from the Economist Intelligence Unit’s international livability report. Founded in 1835, Melbourne currently has a population of more than 4.1 million and lots to offer people. In case you have four or five days to invest in this fine city, here are a couple of places having a strong design element that may inspire you.

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Federation Square: One of Melbourne’s most well-known and visited websites, Federation Square is home to a sizable open-air space and several cultural buildings. The Atrium, Edge Theater and Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) all offer visitors an array of wonderful and diverse displays.
Location: Corner of Flinders and Swanston streets
Noteworthy: The website has been home to the city morgue, a fish market and rail yards over recent years.

The exceptionally controversial building shown here — one site called it one of the ugliest in the world — became Melbourne’s unofficial city square in 2002, following an international competition was held to create a cultural construction that may also house an open amphitheater for up to 15,000 people. Laboratory Architecture partnered with Melbourne architecture company Bates Smart to style the magnificent space.

There are numerous other notable buildings inhabiting the 40,900-square-foot Federation Square, and every one pushes the boundaries of style with interesting materials and shapes that challenge the senses.

Along with shops, cafés and restaurants, there are also several cultural attractions in the square. The Ian Potter Center: NGV Australia gallery is dedicated to displaying only Australian artwork, although the ACMI showcases movie, television and electronic bits. Both are free to see, although some fees may apply for temporary exhibitions.

More information: Federation Square, Ian Potter Center: NGV Australia, ACMI

Collins Street: A central business district with rich architectural background
Noteworthy: The mile-long road (1.6 kilometers) is considered one of Australia’s finest, with tons of shops, restaurants, resorts and much more.

The Manchester Unity Building (pictured),at 220 Collins St., was Constructed in 1932 from the neogothic style. At the time it had been the tallest building in Melbourne, and the very first to have escalators. The Block Arcade, at 280 Collins St., was created from the French Renaissance style; it opened in 1892 after architects Twentyman & Askew were asked to design a shopping arcade that could replicate the Galleria Vittorio in Milan. Hopetoun Tea Rooms, owned by one of the original dealers, has a gorgeous triffid blossom wallpaper and a window screen of goodies that are impossible to withstand.

Also take a look at the Georges Building, the Regent Theatre, St. Michael’s Uniting Church and the Rialto Towers.

More information: Collins Street, The Block Arcade, Hopetoun Tea Rooms


Melbourne Museum: Explores life in Victoria, the Australian state where Melbourne resides, by the natural environment to the civilization and background
Price: Adults: $10 Australian; children under 16: free
Location: 11 Nicholson St., Carlton
Noteworthy: The Forest Gallery and the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre are permanent exhibits that are worth visiting.

The Melbourne Museum is a three-story architecture, using a glass facade that mirrors the historic 1880s Royal Exhibition Building it sits beside. Produced by the architects at Denton Corker Marshall in Melbourne, this award-winning structure is something to behold.

More information: Melbourne Museum

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Prahran Market: Melbourne’s earliest create market
Location: 163 Commercial Rd., South Yarra
Noteworthy: The coated market houses many of the best delis, butchers, fish retailers and grocers in Melbourne.

Prahran started as an open-air market in July 1867. The market moved to its current place in 1891, when the present Victorian facade was designed by architect Charles A. D’Ebro.

More information: Prahran Market

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Must-Visit Shops

The GPO: A mecca for the serious shopper; a wide range of retailers and eateries set within an elegant heritage-listed construction
Location: 350 Bourke St.
Noteworthy: it’s well-known that in Melbourne, road distances are measured and listed in kilometers beginning from the GPO.

The GPO was designed from the neo-Renaissance design by A.E. Johnson. The two-level post office building was constructed between 1859 and 1867. In 1887 a third level was added with the famous clock tower, making a city landmark. United States architect Walter Burley Griffin redesigned the construction in 1919, making an open space to the public sorting hallway.

The Australia Post stopped using this construction for sorting mail in 1992, although it lasted as a post office until 2001. Over the next several decades, developers proposed a shopping mall and a major hotel development without achievement.

After a major fire in 2001, the GPO building was restored and opened as a retail centre in October 2004.

More information: The GPO

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High Street Armadale: A 3.7-kilometer stretch (more than two miles) of High Street with many historical buildings offering a wealth of antiques shops, furniture stores, fabric houses, art galleries, clothing stores, cafés and restaurants
Location: Start your walk at the Malvern Town Hall (1251 High St., Malvern) and head west till you get to Chapel Street, Prahran.
Noteworthy: Many elaborate buildings from the 1880s all the way through the postwar years are here.

The Berkelouw Bookshop (shown), built in 1885, is just one fine example of the abundant Victorian buildings. The shop is well worth a visit, as it shares one of the most comprehensive collections of interior architectural and design books in Melbourne.

More information: High Street Armdale, The Berkelouw Bookshop

Fenton & Fenton

High Street, Prahran: This streetis home to numerous eclectic stores for housewares, such as rugs, furniture and lighting.
Noteworthy: Melbourne’s interior designers frequent this stretch of shops on a regular basis; many of the major fabric houses also reside here.

Fenton and Fenton (shown) is filled with bright and interesting one-off objects. This shop won’t disappoint.
Safari Living and Nyaryare also worth checking out.

More information: Fenton and Fenton, Safari Living, Nyary

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Hotel Lindrum: A luxury boutique hotel with a exceptional background
Price: U.S.$192 to $267 per night
Location: 26 Flinders St. — a five-minute stroll from Federation Square
Noteworthy: Initially built for tea merchants in 1900, this Romanesque revival–style construction has had a checkered history.

In the 1920s the region around Flinders Street became the headquarters for a major paper, and the building was inhabited by various printers. Back in 1973 the building was bought by Dolly Lindrum and turned into a home for playing billiards and snooker. In 1999 it had been transformed to a hotel.

More information: Hotel Lindrum

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The Cullen: This is one hotel in a series of Melbourne Art Series Hotels scattered around town.
Price: From $219 Canadian
Location: 164 Commercial Rd..
Noteworthy: Street Art Suites feature personalized stamps left by internationally acclaimed road artists that remained there.

Located in Prahran, contrary the iconic Prahran Market plus a simple tram ride to High Street shops, this boutique hotel pays homage to Adam Cullen, an Archibald Prize–winning performer that contested the conservative nature of the contest with his daring, pop style artwork.

Cullen was a finalist for the Archibald Prize (Australia’s most prestigious art award) nine times; his job is shown throughout the eight different rooms and public spaces.

More information: The Cullen

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David’s: A long established, moderately priced restaurant with a Shanghai-inspired menu
Price: Appetizers: $6 to $14 Canadian; entrees $11 to $30
Location: 4 Cecil Pl., Prahran
Noteworthy: Situated in a former warehouse, this restaurant can be close to High Street shops.

The insides have recently been commissioned by Hecker Guthrie Interior Designers. The use of industrial-style furniture and crisp colour gives David’s a fresh, contemporary appeal.

More information: David’s

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Cookie Bar & Restaurant: A breezy, fun bar and restaurant
Price: Bar snacks: $6.50 to $28.50 Canadian; small to big dishes: $9.50 to $42
Location: Curtain House, 252 Swanston St., first floor
Noteworthy: Cookie is situated in Curtin House, which was built in 1922 and was when the office of the Communist Party. Named after a Australian prime minister, this six-story art nouveau building has a rooftop theatre, a live-music place, a rare-record shop and much more.

Cookie has an interesting, laid-back interior that feels like someone’s home. It is a friendly place to spend some time recharging while sightseeing.

More information: Cookie Bar & Restaurant

Peter Bennetts

Baker D. Chirico: Abakery designed using the humble bread jar in mind
Location: 178 Faraday St., Carlton
Noteworthy: Attempt one of those custard-filled bomboloni

Carlton is the coffee heart of Melbourne, therefore owner Daniel Chirico knew the area did not need just another coffee shop. Since good bread is just another Melbourne fixation, he fused the best of both worlds.

Produced by March Studio from Melbourne, the place has a ceiling made out of curved plywood, giving it an organic feel. The timber countertop functions as a block that is giant.

More information: Baker D. Chirico

Must-Visits Outdoor Melbourne:

Port Phillip Estate:
A winery, hotel and restaurant
Location: 263 Red Hill Rd., Red Hill South, Mornington Peninsula, about 55 miles (89 kilometers) from Melbourne
Noteworthy: The dramatic rammed-earth construction, made by Wood Marsh Architecture, is home to a restaurant, Cellar Door, and lavish accommodations.

Port Phillip is the best place to stay at if you really feel like spending more time finding the local beaches. Otherwise, just spend a couple of hours enjoying the views of the surrounding landscape from the winery’s expansive deck.

More information: Port Phillip Estate

TarraWarra Museum of Art: A independently financed public gallery that focuses on Australian art from the mid-20th century to the present day
Price: depends upon the exhibition; standard adult cost: $12 Canadian
Location: 311 Healesville-Yarra Glen Rd., Healesville, about an hour out of Melbourne
Noteworthy: Produced by Allan Powell Architects, the TarraWarra Museum doesn’t have unnecessary antiques and utilizes materials that resonate with all the striking landscape.

The estate is also home to TarraWarra Cellar Door and Restaurant.

More information: TarraWarra Museum

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