|The Prahran Hotel In Melbourne, Australia
|Bars, Restaurants, Design, Interior Design
Could you ever imagine that a huge concrete pipe could become the space to host your next intimate dinner? As odd as it might sound, the team behind the Prahran Hotel, a recently renovated pub in Melbourne, Australia, has ingeniously turned standard concrete pipes into a structural, decorative and equally functional element by making them the central feature of the venue’s show-stopping façade.
After two years in the making involving a demanding construction process, the Sand Hill Road Hospitality Group recently opened the doors of the renovated Prahran Hotel. The project is the fifth pub collaboration between Techné Architects and the Australian hospitality group, following other successful Melbourne pubs such as the Bridge Hotel, the Richmond Club Hotel, Holliava and the Post Office Bar Pizza. The Sand Hill Road Group known for reinvigorating sites by creating interesting and dynamic spaces whilst keeping true to the ideals of a local pub has definitely created the next must-visit venue in Melbourne for after-work or weekend drinks.
The painstaking renovation of the iconic 1940s pub called for the demolition of the existing 1970s rear extension and its replacement with an area that takes inspiration from the pub’s streamline aesthetic, with an unusual building element as the focal point. And the result is an unexpected space that allows for socializing around a fully glazed courtyard, all the while encouraging intimate moments inside concrete-pipe booths.
As the overall dominating feature of the project, the building’s striking façade is made of 17 concrete pipes measuring 2.25m in diameter and varying from 2.5 tonnes to 7.4 tonnes each. Cleverly stacked like oversized beer kegs slotted right through the façade, they constitute the space’s primary window elements providing natural light and an outlook from the interior spaces, all the while creating an impressive large-scale circular motif inspired by the venue’s original art deco design. From the outside, they draw the eye inwards, like oversized pinholes, inviting passersby to peek through the façade and witness all the little storylines playing out inside. Finished with leather upholstered banquette seating and timber panelling, they can seat two, six or twelve patrons, giving them the unique chance to sit right inside the building’s façade.
Comprising three bars and a spacious function room that can accommodate up to 420 participants, a new extension was also incorporated which spans across three levels accessed by a steel gantry that connects patrons through the various spaces. Another feature, the fully glazed courtyard allowing natural light in, is shaded by a Chinese elm tree. Above, an impressive suspended half-pipe booth offers dramatic, elevated seating for 12 with panoramic views of the space. Located below a series of concrete cast lamps, a five metre-long bar decorated with weathered salvaged pipes stands ready to serve patrons throughout the night. And for those who feel like dancing, the collapsible tables in the courtyard quickly give way to a spacious dance floor that can accommodate the most spontaneous of weekend-night dance moves.
Despite the Prahran Hotel’s impressive façade and innovative architecture, what ultimately remains at the heart of this pub is an easygoing, friendly and fun bar. The term ‘pub’, after all, is short for ‘public bar’ which the Sand Hill Road Group has tried to stay true to, as co-owner of the group, Matt Mullins affirms. ''At its core, the Prahran Hotel offers what you’d expect of your local pub – a meeting place to share a beer with your mates, a family function, a night out with the girls or a date''.