Breathe Architecture has succeeded in defining the parameters of ‘industrial chic’ with a refurbishment that is dynamic in its raw material palette, while being practical and resourceful in its approach to design. Located in the Chinese quarter of Melbourne’s Victoria Street, The National Hotel has been re-imagined for the present-day and stands unpretentiously robust and utilitarian. The interior has been stripped back to its bare bones, with the space divided into different zones – cafe, booth seating, dining room, courtyard – making for an easy-to-navigate setting that functions as a place of inclusivity and gathering. With excellent sustainability credentials, including the use of salvaged and repurposed materials and solar panelling, The National Hotel is an outstanding example of ‘common sense approach’ design and intelligent and well-considered material application.
“This hotel’s quietly seductive charm lies in its pared back robustness and honest application of a raw material palette.” – Leanne Amodeo, 2012 IDEA jury chair