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Hong Kong’s successful Hind Group recently entered the Australian market and their first project has been transforming a building of former lackluster serviced apartments on Little Bourke St in Melbourne’s CBD into the boutique Ovolo Hotel, aimed at tech-savvy professionals. A key part of the design challenge for the HASSELL team was instilling a unique ‘local identity’ into the design of the hotel, while still evoking references to the group’s other Asian properties.

Situated at the top end of Little Bourke Street surrounded by theatres, restaurants and bars, Ovolo sits deep within the urban context of Melbourne’s famous laneways, rich in character and texture. The hotel’s position encourages exploration of unknown pockets, accidental surprises and hidden treasures within the urban landscape. Inside Ovolo, which comprises 43 guestrooms including three penthouse suites complete with outdoor terraces, guests discover their own hidden surprises. They are taken on an exciting sensory journey from the dramatic and smart concierge-style reception, through dimly-lit corridors accentuated by brightly coloured doors and illuminated custom artwork, before arriving at the calming and restorative guest rooms.

Five distinct room types provide an uncluttered, light and effortless approach to urban living. Each is based on a similar neutral colour palette yet maintain an individual character through diverse furniture and joinery components that allow guests to reconfigure the room as they wish. The ‘ovolo’ (the diminutive of egg in old Italian and also a term used in architecture ) is an element used in all the Hind Group properties across Asia and has been reinterpreted in the Melbourne Ovolo Hotel to create a kinetic art sculpture. A multitude of the silver eggs run across the ceiling and down the wall in the reception area to create a fluid, recognisable form.

Emulating the characteristics of Melbourne’s fun and surprising laneways, rooms vary to include an oversized table, a chalkboard style noticeboard and even a vintage pinball machine. Other surprise quirks include tailored panel bed heads and shaving mirrors in the showers, combining functionality with design – the essence of what a hotel experience should be.

Susan Standring, Principal, HASSELL – lead project designer: “The ‘ovolo’ (little egg) is an element used in all the Hind Group properties across Asia and we’ve reinterpreted it in the Melbourne Ovolo Hotel to create a kinetic art sculpture in the reception area”. ‘It’s been a really interesting experience seeing how we can take an established hotel brand from Asia and give it a local flavour through design elements such as bespoke artwork, colours and quirky surprises”.

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