The Prahran Hotel:

82 High St, Prahran VIC
(03) 9529 2168 or www.prahranhotel.com

Matt Mullins: “We approached The Prahran design the same as any other: talk to Techne, ask for some options, dig into those and work out the best approach. And we always say: bring us the crazy shit too. Don’t hold back. We’re open to it. [Looking around the renovation] This was the ‘crazy shit’. 

“We keep pushing as far as we can with design. We never thought wild, innovative design would detrimentally effect business; we never thought people would walk in and think ‘this is too out there’, so long as the actual offering is good — the food, the service, the pricing… so long as there’s a telly to watch the footy, so long as you can get a parma and a pot of Carlton, and so long as you can get to know the barman and he can get to know you — you can push the boundaries of design. And so it has proved to be.”

Justin Northrop, Techne Architects: “The boys knew they needed a good connection between the two floor levels and they knew they needed something open and light, and a sense of outdoor, and they knew the courtyard would be in the middle for maximum benefit to the whole space. So as a set of parameters that already lent itself to being a dramatic space. From there we submitted a handful of ideas: we could build this box out of pure glass, or we could have a mesh box, or a perforated steel box… or what about these pipes?”


Matt Mullins: “Bear in mind, a really cool facade is a great thing but not much use to a publican — people come back because of what it feels like on the inside. What’s great is the pipes work outside and inside. More than that, it’s a wall you get to sit in, spend an evening in, and book a table in!”

Justin: “Once the guys showed their enthusiasm for the pipes, the next day, before anything else, we sat down with an engineer to see if it could be done. The answer was ‘yes’, but as we delved deeper it got progressively more difficult — although by that stage we were fully committed. Part of the complexity lies in the fact the pipes are not made to be used in this manner. There’s quite a bit of invisible engineering involved to ensure the pipes don’t crush each other.”


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