Each year the Eat Drink Design Awards judge the best hospitality interior designs completed in the previous year. Due to the pandemic, this year’s awards cover design projects completed between July 2019 to June 2021. When the shortlist dropped in August, jury chair Cassie Hansen, editor of Artichoke magazine, said the shortlisted venues impressed the panel for honouring their pasts “in a modern and beautiful way”.

The winners, announced on December 2, recognise excellence and innovation in the design of permanent and temporary hospo venues and retail spaces after a challenging couple of years for the industry.

“If there was an overarching trend across this year’s entries, [it’s] strong evidence of the restrained and the residential,” said Hansen in a statement.

“There was a shift toward more utilitarian materials, creating future-forward spaces that avoid fuss and decoration. However, when decoration did appear, it carried a distinctly residential touch, with some venues in Adelaide and Auckland feeling less like restaurants and more like much-loved homes,” she said.

Best Bar Design was awarded to pared-back wine bar Little Prince Wine in St Kilda, designed by IF Architecture. Best Cafe Design went to the light and airy Industry Beans Newstead, in Queensland, by Platform by DesignOffice. And the Best Restaurant Design was given to two restaurants – industrial-looking Parramatta eatery Cicciabella, by Fiona Lynch Interior Design, and Brisbane’s moody, dark Agnes by Amok.

“Both shone as sophisticated, thoughtful eateries with chiseled textures,” said the jury.

Best Hotel Design went to Hilton Melbourne on Little Queen Street, by Bates Smart, for its sophisticated lobby dining and drinking destinations. Little Prince Wine also won Best Retail, and Melbourne eatery Hazel won Best Identity Design for its art deco illustrated designs by One & Other.

Best Industrial Design went to the NGV Triennial 2020 Outdoor Pavilions, created by Board Grove Architects. But the big-dog award – Hall of Fame – went to a beloved and longstanding cafe that has “has arguably acted as the blueprint for modern cafes the world over,” says the jury. That light-filled, homey cafe is Bill’s Darlinghurst. Thanks Bill Granger for 10 years of excellent brunches in a beautiful setting.

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