First published on 24 Jul 2012. Updated on 21 Feb 2014.
You’re sky-high at Vue de Monde, 55 levels above Collins Street. To avoid losing your entrée, don’t look down; look up instead. Suspended above you are 90 hand-blown glass orbs, created by installation artist Emma Lashmar. The softly lit bulbs hover above kangaroo skin-covered tables like stars in the night sky, complimenting Vue de Monde's decidedly Australian-style menu.
Springtime is the season for creative partnerships. Melissa Loughnan – curator of Melbourne gallery Utopian Slumps – and St Kilda restaurant Circa have spent all winter hatching plans to showcase works by two Australian artists in the restaurant’s dining room. With the project changing seasonally, naturally with the menu, Nathan Gray and Steven Asquith present colourful, spring-inspired works on paper.
Handpainted lanterns at Japas
An unexpected gem is the Melbourne Central sushi train restaurant, Japas. Hanging above the tables is a range of around 20 unique lanterns, each hand-painted by restaurant owner Andrew Kilroy’s wife, Liu Kilroy. You can order your own lantern, too. From $80-$120, depending on the size you’re after, the lanterns require around three weeks to make. Pop into Japas to place an order. 211 La Trobe St, Melbourne.
Smalltown macramé at the Brix, Grace Darling and Lupino
Macramé dates back to the 13th century when Arab weavers knotted excess thread into fancy fringes on shawls and towels. Artist Sarah Parkes, the knitting fingers behind Smalltown, has been commissioned by various restaurants around Melbourne to bring back the ancient craft of weaving rope into decorative features. Check out her epic ceiling-to-floor knotted chandelier at the Grace Darling, the macramé wall over at Lupino, and her features at the Brix that give the Fitzroy restaurant a barnyard feel.
"All you see, I owe to spaghetti," said Sophia Loren when quizzed about how she achieved her famously voluptuous figure. If spaghetti’s the ticket to a great bum, then we’re clocking off early for a plate of pasta at the Bourke Street institution, Grossi Florentino. Australian artist Angela Brennan collaborated with the restaurant to design their physical menu which you can admire while choosing between your smoked quail and pesto brontese. Inspired by Loren’s quote, Brennan uses water-colour illustrations to reinforce that good food equals a good life.
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