Shopping precinct: Collingwood, VIC

We reveal Australia’s must-visit destinations and uncover their hidden gems
Martina Gemmola

The inner-city Melbourne suburb of Collingwood is moving up in the world. Only three kilometres from the city’s CBD, this once-grungy neighbourhood has recently transformed into a hipster paradise, complete with coffee shops aplenty and a blossoming retail community. Cobblestoned laneways with converted warehouses offer a plethora of independent stores stocked with wares from both local designers and high-end international brands.


STOP 1 | Gallery Midlandia

Opened 18 months ago, Gallery Midlandia has become a firm favourite of Melbourne’s design community for its thoughtfully curated selection of original artwork and vintage furniture. “I love the freshness of the 1930-1970 era,” says owner Martin McIntosh. “The art, architecture and design intersect magically and complement each other, and I like that they have a distinguished patina of time – they’re imbued with character and life.” Gallery Midlandia showcases works from Australia, Scandinavia, the US and Europe.

Must-haves: Original ‘M is for Magick’ signed screen print by Sister Mary Corita Kent, a US artist (and nun!) who specialised in pop art, $1400

Open: Thu-Sat, 11am-4pm, or by appointment.

Visit: 148 Johnston Street, 0412 158 699.


STOP 2 | Ajar

With its distinct international aesthetic, Ajar put the welcome mat out four years ago. Directors Andrew Boddington, an interior designer, and Spanish architect Josep Vallhonrat saw a gap in the market for contemporary Spanish design. “Spanish design is known for its innovative products, which we wanted to introduce to Australia,” says Andrew. The store plays host to pieces from designers and ateliers such as Jaime Hayón, David Casadesus, Xavier Mora, Odosdesign, Hugo Tejada, BD Barcelona and many more. With 80 per cent of its brands new to the Australian market, this is a must-visit for the discerning design enthusiast.

Must-haves: ‘Syrma’ armchair by G Vegni & G Gualtierotti for Casadesùs, $2540; ‘Santorini’ pendant lamps by Sputnik Estudio for Marset, $415 each.

Open: Mon-Sat, 10am-6pm; Sun, 11am-4pm.

Visit: 15 Johnston Street, (03) 9417 0015.


STOP 3 | Alex Earl

Alex Earl creates beautiful, handcrafted timber furniture from his workshop, which backs onto his store – and that’s just the way he likes it. “We have all of the skills, tools and machinery to take ideas – even the most fanciful – and create objects from concept to finished product, all within these walls,” says Alex. The range is made
to order from FSC-approved (Forest Stewardship Council) or carbon-positive imported timber. Alex’s most recent design is a horn-based sound system. “I spent three years learning everything from acoustic theory to hand point-to-point wiring of vacuum tube amplifiers,” he says of his attention to detail.

Must-haves: ‘Urchin’ planter light by Earl Pinto, $1350; ‘Wave’ cabinet by Alex Earl, $5600.

Open: Mon-Fri, 10am-4pm; Sat, 11am-2pm.

Visit: 14-16 Sackville Street, 0431 870 252.


STOP 4 | Lightly

Unveiled in 2005 by designer and director Cindy-Lee Davies, Home Beautiful favourite Lightly has gone from strength to strength and is now sold globally. With a collection of functional pieces for the home, inspired by a sense of adventure, released each year, there’s always something to covet. The recently launched ‘Cinnamon’ range of tableware in beautifully muted hues has been added to with planters, vessels and a set of velvet cushions and tripod side tables. From lighting to rugs and cushions to vessels, Lightly is a one-stop shop for contemporary homewares with an Aussie twist.

Must-haves: Solid brass tableware including salad servers, $66, and bottle opener, $32.50.

Open: Mon-Sat, 10am-5pm.

Visit: 3 Glasshouse Road, (03) 9417 2440.



STOP 5 | Rupert On Rupert

After a long day’s shopping, there is no better spot to kick back and relax than at hip bar and meeting spot Rupert On Rupert. Owned by husband-and-wife team Ric and Mali Corinaldi, the pair want you to feel right at home and have created a relaxed atmosphere to enable just that. A qualified horticulturist, Ric’s green thumb is evident as soon as you walk into the light-filled courtyard, while a welcoming bar and ample dining spots await to the right. The couple caters for functions for special events such as weddings and parties, too.

Must-haves: Craft beers and cocktails, plus pizzas fresh from the oven starting at $17.

Open: Wed, 4pm-11pm; Thurs, 4pm-12am; Fri, 12pm-12am; Sat, 1pm-12am; Sun, 1pm-6pm.

Visit: 73 Rupert Street, (03) 9419 7702.


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