25XDesign: Amanda Levete's inspiring Melbourne tour

MPavilion 2015 architect Amande Levete shares her 25xDesign Melbourne inspirations for a smart tour

BY SOPHIE DAVIES

At DesignFizz, we’ve long been fans of Melbourne’s design charms, from modernist architecture to quirky laneways, cutting-edge shops and salvage-chic bars. So imagine our delight when we heard that Amanda Levete of AL_A studio, the UK architect behind this year's magical MPavilion, had teamed up with London Design Festival director Ben Evans to create a guide to Melbourne's most inspiring style spots.

Launched at MPavilion today, the 25xDesign smart tour was conceived by Evans as an interactive digital event, intended to celebrate design and place. You can experience Levete's 25 hand-picked, favourite Melbourne design destinations as a traditional walking tour, but that would be like so 1985! This so-now tour was developed with Google Creative Lab's 360 degree technology, so you can access the locations as a virtual immersion on your mobile or online (provided you've got compatibility, 'natch). Dubbed Story Spheres, the platform uses experimental browser technologies including webGL and 3js, and can be viewed on your desktop, mobile or via Google Cardboard for a virtual-reality-esque experience. Future tours will help design fans discover other cities with the help of select tastemakers, but Melbourne is the first cab off the rank.

Tours start and finish at MPavilion, in Queen Victoria Gardens, and include a thought-provoking mix of art, architecture, transport and streetscapes (think Melbourne's iconic trams and 19th-century laneways, right), plus drinking and dining dens (such as Patricia's cafe, right, by Foolscap Studio and Beyond the Little Pixels on Little William Street, with pavement pews formed from trademark Melbourne plastic crates).

We won't give the whole game away, but top picks include artist Ugo Rondinone's 2007 'Our Magic Hour' light art installation in South Yarra (main image above) as well as Napier Waller's 1933 Newspaper House mosaic (inset on mobile above), Carlton's kookily nautical 1936 Cairo Flats by Best Overend with their swirly cream stairways (above), and Harry Seidler's modernist 1980s 1 Spring Street block (formerly Shell House, above). So wherever you are, take a tour...
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