Now entering its third year, the Belle Coco Republic Interior Design Awards has returned stronger than ever to consider the best in Australian interior spaces. Divided into five categories (Belle Coco Republic Interior Designer of the Year, Best Residential, Best Commercial, Best Hospitality and Best Corporate Interiors), the awards celebrate excellence, creativity and innovation in interior design by individuals or practices.

The prize winners will be announced on May 22, judged by eight of the best minds in interior design in Australia today, including LA-based international judge, interior designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard and Belle editor-in-chief Neale Whitaker. Each venue is judged by a set of criteria, including an adherence to the client’s brief, innovation and creativity, but also on the appropriateness of the venue’s design to its location and the purpose of the space itself.

Chatting about this year’s hospitality finalists, Whitaker commended each venue on their individual execution. “I’m quite glad there’s no unifying trend,” he says. “In the last couple of years we’ve seen a lot of eclectic interiors with a lot of different styles mashed together, but I think if there is a trend at the moment it’s more towards individuality.” In terms of the commercial interiors, judges took into consideration the venue’s success in “creating a very appropriate and clever canvas for the product they were designed to sell”.

On the split between the design offerings from Sydney and Melbourne, Whitaker commented, “The standard of design is much on par, however that hasn’t always been the case. A couple of years ago, I might have said Melbourne had the edge, but I think the gap is closing. Sydney is doing restaurants and bars incredibly well these days, but overall the interior design industry is pretty evenly split between both cities.”

Look out for the winners of the Belle Coco Republic Interior Design Awards in the August/September issue of Belle magazine.

Finalists for this year’s Best Commercial and Best Hospitality Interiors:

Finalists for Commercial Interiors:
Jac+Jack, designed by George Livissianis, Sydney
• George & Allen by Hecker Guthrie, Sydney
• Peter G Bouchier Butcher Shop designed by Doherty Lynch, Melbourne

Finalists for Hospitality Interiors:
Monopole, designed by Pascale Gomes-McNabb, Sydney
Claremont Tonic, designed by Hecker Guthrie, Melbourne)
Rosetta designed by BKH, Melbourne

The Belle Coco Republic Interior Design Awards ceremony will be held at Coco Republic in Alexandria, Sydney on Wednesday May 22.