The annual Eat Drink Design Awards are dedicated to recognising the best in hospitality design in Australia and New Zealand over the past year.

At a ceremony in Melbourne on Tuesday night, Victorian venues took home two of the major awards.

Design firm Ritz & Ghougassian’s fit-out for Morris and Heath won the Best Cafe Design category “for bringing high-end design to Melbourne’s western suburbs.”

Fabio Ongarato Design’s branding for the Mornington Peninsula’s Jackalope Hotel won the award for Best Identity Design, with the jury commenting on its “overtones and undertones of Donnie Darko.”

Morris and Heath, in Hoppers Crossing, is a warm yet sleek cafe, with extensive and dramatic timber panelling on its walls and ceiling.

“The interior successfully creates its own moment, its own place, warm and comfortable with its disciplined palette of wood and strategically placed lighting,” the jury said in its citation. “All is understated, nothing in this interior is extraneous, and it is one of the most remarkable outcomes seen among this year’s entrants.”

“As the light changes over the course of the day, [a] screen is there to operate as a kind of veil… This is a deeply positive interior, timeless and anything but temporary.”

Jackalope Hotel is a starkly different proposition – a slick, sexy and polished 46-room luxury hotel with a story inspired by a mythical hare.

Jackalope’s identity “represents an ambitious and boldly coordinated, highly integrated relationship to the interior and venue it supports,” the jury said in its citation.

Its strong and idiosyncratic personality – conceived around the legend of a rabbit-like creature with antlers that gives the venue its name – comes through in graphics, door signs, menus, typography and uniforms, the jury said.

“As the identity reveals itself through the visitor’s experience, it’s evident there is an overall inventiveness to each layer of the graphics.”

Jackalope’s hotel bar Flaggerdoot and its restaurant Doot Doot Doot were short-listed in the best bar and best restaurant categories, respectively. Fabio Ongarato Design’s work for Melbourne Japanese restaurant Kisume also received a commendation in the Best Identity Design Category.

A number of Melbourne venues were named as Eat Drink Award finalists in August, highlighting some of the most impressive and beautiful new dining spaces in the city. A number of those venues received special mentions last night.

Sensory Lab (designed by Foolscap Studio), Moby 3143 (designed by Golden) and Workshop Brothers (designed by Studio Estela) received commendations in the Best Cafe Design category.

Hecker Guthrie’s design for The George on Collins received a commendation in the Best Bar Design and Best Restaurant Design categories. Melbourne venues Cutler & Co. (revamped by IF Architecture) and Workshop Brothers (Studio Estela) also received commendations in the restaurant design category.

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