Botanic Gar­dens precinct

VOGUE Living Australia - - VLIST - arts­cen­tremel­bourne.com.au/Visit/The­atres-andS­paces/Sid­ney-Myer-Mu­sic-Bowl; bistrog­i­tan.com. au; en­tre­cote.com.au; fes­ti­val.mel­bourne; france­soir.com.au; ichi­ichiku.com.au; matilda159.com; rbg.vic.gov.au; robin­boyd.org.au; shrine.org.au; unit­ed­places.com.

Mel­bourne is mas­ter­ful at retrofitting the old with in­trigu­ing new rel­e­van­cies. Take the 172-year-old Royal Botanic Gar­dens Vic­to­ria, 36 hectares of spec­tac­u­lar park­land planted with more than 10,000 botan­i­cal species that serves as the green lungs and liv­ing room of the city by day, and the cru­cible for edgy culture af­ter dark.

French art lu­mi­nar­ies Com­pag­nie Cara­bosse re­cently fired it up with a river of flame for the Mel­bourne Fes­ti­val, while Cir­cus Oz am­pli­fied their ac­ro­batic may­hem with the pre­miere of Pre­car­i­ous in the grounds. In sum­mer, it is cin­ema clas­sics and Shake­speare served un­der the stars with pic­nic ham­pers and pup­pies (dogs are al­ways wel­come). This city-wide will­ing­ness to drop one ecosys­tem into a con­tra-in­di­cated other ex­presses to great ef­fect in the ad­ja­cent Shrine of Re­mem­brance, where ar­chi­tects Ash­ton Raggatt McDougall — po­si­tioned at the play­fully ex­pres­sive end of Mel­bourne de­sign — have in­vested the Neo­clas­si­cal mau­soleum with the Gal­leries of Re­mem­brance.

These emo­tive un­der­ground spa­ces map­ping the nar­ra­tive of Aus­tralia’s war ef­forts are a must-see for buffs of both his­tory and ar­chi­tec­ture. So is the Sid­ney Myer Mu­sic Bowl, the sweep­ing 1950s ten­sile struc­ture host­ing out­door con­certs, and the Walsh Street home of Robin Boyd, ar­guably the great­est ar­chi­tect of mod­ernist-era Mel­bourne. Now an im­mer­sive event space and in­cu­ba­tor of de­sign in­tel­li­gence (through the Robin Boyd Foun­da­tion), the house plays host to film nights, talk­fests and tours (check on­line for dates and de­tails). Af­ter beat­ing a path to all that post­war ar­chi­tec­ture, an ap­petite is bound to build. Head to the Do­main, where Scott Pick­ett’s new Matilda, mas­ter­fully de­signed by Projects of Imag­i­na­tion into an el­e­men­tal space, gives a bril­liant Aussie salute to bistro clas­sics — think kan­ga­roo tartare and Pink Lady ap­ple tarte tatin. Pri­or­ity ac­cess to its coal-charred fare goes to guests of United Places Botanic Gar­dens, the new lux­ury 12-suite ‘home-ho­tel’ above Pick­ett’s eatery that sur­veys the green sweep of Botanic Gar­dens and city be­yond.

The area brags good in­for­mal French fare (bon­jour, En­trecôte, Bistro Gi­tan and France-Soir) and a furtive lit­tle Ja­panese jewel in the tim­ber-clad form of Ichi Ichi Ku — a 20-seat all-day iza­kaya with a mostly gluten-free menu. Walk it all off around The Tan — the favourite Mel­bourne run­ning route that loops the Botanic Gar­dens.

Emo­tive un­der­ground spa­ces map­ping the nar­ra­tive of Aus­tralia’s war ef­forts are must-see for buffs a of both his­tory and ar­chi­tec­ture

THIS PAGE a suite at the United Places Botanic Gar­dens bou­tique ho­tel. OP­PO­SITE PAGE Parisianstyle cafe En­trecôte in South Yarra.

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