Melbourne Central
Friday 26 Oct 2012


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Melbourne Central is a landmark Shopping Centre located in the heart of Melbourne's CBD.

With a seating capacity of 800 serviced by 16 food outlets, the point of difference for this project comes from challenging the convention by adopting a restaurant dining design approach to a high volume mass food eatery.

In addition to the operational and patronage requirements to be addressed, the brief asked that the design responded on a creative arts level and with a strong focus on the use of environmentally sustainable materials.

The creative benchmark developed for the food court is an iconic twenty metre long "box" sliced horizontally and "carved" to incorporate custom seating. Interpreted in a blend of mosaic tiles, this whimsical illustration by TUB took its inspiration from a post Global Financial Crisis. It evokes "brighter days" and prescribes a return to imagination, sense of freedom, nature and life. For children it is visual entertainment. We hoped that in capturing the curiosity of infants, it would provide at least five minutes breathing space for parents to relax, eat and drink.

Akin to a private dining room, it contradicts the traditional need to provide unobstructed lines of vision to all retailers from all points of the food court. It's positioning and architectural form intentionally creates a physical separation of patrons: the "grab and go" shoppers from the slow "grazing" diner.

It also encourages patrons to move through the food court rather than view the space from the fringes.

This central seating area is one of five unique and distinctive dining zones. Coordinated furniture selections, materials and lighting distinguish each precinct and visually reduces the vast open plan whilst providing diversity to cater for a broad patronage.

The open slat ceiling defines the overall space whilst providing warmth, texture and acoustic qualities.

The custom designed layered use of Eco panelling to ceilings has a contemporary reference to traditional press metal whilst being environmental (manufactured from recycled plastic bottles), durable and having acoustic properties.

B & B Italia lounge and dining seating is normally specified for hospitality venues such as hotels, bars and restaurants. For this venue, the outdoor range designed by Patricia Urquiola offered a level of design and comfort responding to our vision whilst meeting the functionality and durability requirements.

Melbourne Central food court is a mass public venue that encourages co-habitation.

It is meeting place for people to gather from all walks.

The Uncarved Block