Melbourne Retail Safari.
Our coffee-fuelled trip around Melbourne’s retail highlights. Here at sfd, we love to get out and see what’s going on in retail
We get the team together, sometimes we invite some of our clients along too, and head out armed with a list and a map on what we have lovingly dubbed our “retail safaris”. Although we aren’t likely to come across anything more exciting than a pigeon as we window shop around London, we love to stay up-to-date with what is happening in retail around us, get new ideas and meet new people. It was only a matter of weeks after we opened the doors of our office in Melbourne that the retail safari went antipodean. We went a little off piste and fitted in a burger and a coffee too. Take a look at what we discovered in the Australian city.
A great little boutique of unique and classic designer ladies wear with a simple But effective design complimented with the visual rows of skulls and the statement photo which just can’t miss of Jean Goddard, Alpha 60 is the success storey of brother and sister duo Alex & George Cleary which also has a menswear store in Brunswick and multiple other stores across the city.
But the really amazing space is just two doors further up and on the second level inside part of the breathtaking St Paul’s cathedral with an almost hidden concept store where the the catwalk army of mannequins takes centre stage underneath the walking cow projected onto the rear wall.
As well as the fashion scene Alpha 60 are closely connected to the Arts community and will be hosting lots of forthcoming events in this amazing space and recently had a secret and intimate evening with the Melbourne symphony orchestra.
A simply amazing place to retail from and a very lucky brand to have this space
195 Flinders Lane www.alpha60.com.au
One of the largest and most impressive coffee shops in Melbourne, just off Spencer Street, in a converted former power station which boasts 15 metre-high ceiling, stunning exposed brickwork and concrete pillars. Higher Ground provides stunning coffee and a very tasty breakfast menu with tastes to suit everyone from head chef Nate Wilkins via an open kitchen. The smartly uniformed staff provide luxury hotel level hospitality.
650 Little Bourke Street www.highergroundmelbourne.com.au
This quirky record store located in a basement (unsurprisingly) on a small side street, that’s full off yet more coffee shops next to the stunning Block Arcade, is the place to stop by if you want to know about upcoming music events in Melbourne. The wall-to-wall flyers also tell a tale of Melbourne’s stance as a music hotspot. Proof that in a digital age there is still a demand for a welcoming environment, to chill out while having a read on one of the comfy retro chairs, before leaving with a purchase of your favourite artist (or brand new discovery) on CD – because old school is still cool.
24 Block Place www.basementdiscs.com.au
March Design originally produced a pop-up store concept for Aesop using cardboard that was hugely successful and lasted far longer than intended. From that pop-up, Aesop refreshed the original mood and theme in 2015 to create a permanent store interior design, with a stunning curved multi-level wall made from industrial-grade cardboard, cut to show the corrugated detail of the material, which is the same as is used to ship the Australain skincare brand’s products. The simple and effective VM, in matching earthy tones to the store interior, adds to the uniqueness that every Aesop store is known for.
1c/268 Flinders Ln www.aesop.com
Degraves Street and Centre Place opposite (more commonly referred to as Degraves Lane) is where the Melbourne coffee culture really took off, inspiring small, standing-room-only cafés. Quick and easy lunch stops, European-run cafés serving humble good quality coffee, quickly evolved into the Melbourne coffee scene that dominates the area as we know it today.
Not that one. Tucked away just off Oliver Street is the back laneway entrance to the award-winning Lucy Liu. Expect an Asian fusion menu and a beautiful welcoming space with a wooden lattice ceiling and walls, exposed brick walls and concrete foundations with integrated seating. The open kitchen and cocktail bar make a great place to meet, eat and drink, the cool vibe enhanced by an eclectic playlist.
23 Oliver Lane www.lucylius.com.au
A great burger spot with poster tube walls and ceilings that show how a little “out of the box” thinking can create high impact, affordable, stand-out design. Grill’d is a chain that can be found across Australia, but they specialise in locally sourced, ethical and healthy food, but you won’t feel cheated out of a delicious meal. This restaurant also supports three charitable organisations each month from the local community, so you can feel even less guilty about that extra portion of fries.
83 Flinders Lane and various locations www.grilld.com.au
Spring Street Grocer
Initial appearance is another enterprise selling healthy smoothies, pressed juices – and of course coffee – from the bar at the front but the Spring Street Grocer is so much more. It has as everything you would expect from a good grocer but the selection is mixed with local produce and imported brands, which are mainly Italian – even a Gelato station – making this pretty much the perfect grocery store.
As if all of the food and the environment wasn’t enough, when venturing downstairs you discover the cheese cellar. With a ‘Brie’lliant (we had to, don’t judge!) selection of cheese to indulge in, and a dining table for 10 which can be booked by special requests for private events or cheese and wine tasting.
157 Spring Street www.springstreetgrocer.com.au