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SMLWRLD architects have designed Hell of the North, a restaurant/bar in Melbourne, Australia. The Paris-Roubaix is a one-day, 260km cycling event in the north of France ridden mostly over bluestone cobbles, it is known as The Hell of the North for obvious reasons. With Parisian bistro references and plenty of historic Melbourne bluestone, the new Hell of the North has been crafted into and around an original 19th century hotel on the threshold of Fitzroy and Collingwood.

In close collaboration with clients Adam Ferrante (Rose St Artists Market) and Mark Grixti (The European / Supper Club) architects SMLWRLD set out to discover a new relationship between the dining spaces and what is consumed within them. This search lead to the image of a French wine press, a rough crucible refining valuable contents, an inspiration that translated into detailed timber expressions of gentle force, careful layering of colour and depth of texture.

Material choices focused on the combined warmth of timber and burnished brass, elsewhere blackened steel indicates structural changes made in the spirit of a Victorian industrial history. Woven through the network of intimate and connected dining spaces, blue surfaces create a circling moat that separates old from new, privileging the history of this unique Melbourne building.

During the design and construction, project managed by Ferrante himself, many forms of collaboration were undertaken , and builders Qube Construction worked intensively with the existing building to bring out the character and history of the site. From local handmade lighting by Volker Haug to graphic designers Urchin Associates, who even developed the labels for Hell’s signature Margaret River wines ‘Roubaix’, the project has created several new layers of history on an iconic Fitzroy site.

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