The Prince of Wales Hotel is an iconic St.Kilda venue and a monument to the duality of the area. Historically it has been about glamour and the high life, but retains an appeal that attracts all walks of life. PDR is a casual dining restaurant that celebrates context and history.
Across its 83 years of life The Prince of Wales has maintained its ability to be uncompromising, delightful, and most of all, memorable. The brief asked to create a new iconic venue; a place that would hold its own amongst the historic personalities of St Kilda.
With the brief of revitalising the space and improving diner experience as well as back-of-house functionality, the venue transformed from a series of smaller rooms into larger co-mingling environments. Unexpected discoveries made across the 6 month timeline were par for the course within such an old building, seeking fast creative thinking and a malleable design process.
St. Kilda’s charm is its ability to be at once both dignified and cheeky, conservative and disruptive; and these contradicting forces are inherent to the design and accompanying graphic identity produced.
The design brief was to facilitate the shift in Melbournian’s dining habits; from fine dining to casual, from individual plates to share plates, from formality toward fun. The final design concept reflects this move to a broader social experience, whilst still offering pockets of intimacy for those who desire.
Great service is paramount to Melbourne’s restaurants, and this drove the floorplan. A circular bar allows for ease of circulation and delivery between staff. Carefully designed waiter’s stations are located to separately service each area of dining. Open pass to the kitchens allows for efficient communication between staff.
Every material, piece of furniture, light and artwork describes the transformation in both the venue and the broader community over the past 80 years. As such, the design harbours elements that locals and past patrons may recognise and spark storytelling of their own, which may equally reveal the rich spirit of St Kilda to newcomers.
Held for so long in people’s minds as the home of an iconic fine dining venue, the reimagining of the space into Prince Dining Room demanded an entirely new experience for patrons. The design approach took care not to be too nostalgic, and instead built upon existing architectural foundations to create a venue that is both respectful to the past and relevant to today.
With new open floor plans and windows punctuating its walls, it undulates, ebbs and flows, pulls your attention in to playful moments and details peppered throughout the space, and then pushes it back toward its Art Deco windows and what lies beyond. The vantage point from every seat is considered, assuring a layered and multidimensional experience for every diner.
From the staircase at the entrance, to the surface of the table, the design is a wholly considered exploration of identity and history, carefully woven to celebrate food.