Hotel Esplanade


  • Techne Architecture + Interior Design


The reinvigorated hospitality venue has a total area of 3,300 square metres: 12 bars, two restaurants, three performance spaces and numerous discrete spaces. The design focuses entirely on ‘historical layering’. We have deliberately blended and blurred the lines between new works and the existing fabric of the building. The design taps into different eras of design ranging from the late 19th century and through key periods in the 20th century, making for an eclectic customer experience that is united by the cultural history of the place and the authentic nature of the original building.

Key Features


Deep consideration was given to the functional dynamics of the entire building. The design has benefitted from a client/architect relationship that spans many years – each with 20 years’ experience in pub design.
Quality:Every corner of the building was considered including adding patina where it once didn’t exist. Longevity and positive weathering were key considerations in the putting this project together.
Aesthetics:This project is like 15 venues in one. The balance we had to strike was knitting together different design concepts entirely cohesively. It is highly bespoke and put together with an ensemble of trade people, crafts people, artists and stylists.


Hotel Esplanade most definitely has the potential to make a positive impact. It is culturally and socially significant. This is a very popular venue and is a commercial success.

Sustainability: A key agenda was an extensive retention of 120+ year old existing building’s fabric. It served to imbue the design with a sense of authenticity but also served to minimise waste. Longevity is also key to this project and we expect the fitout to enjoy a longer life than what’s typical for commercial fitouts.


The Espy most definitely sets a new benchmark for design, showcasing the benefits of investing in professional design in Victoria, as it has already been recognised internationally for its design excellence. It contributes to the reputation and status of Victoria’s design and creative culture as is an important and well-loved venue within the local context of St.Kilda and it draws people from far and wide as a destination and people very broadly have deep attachment to this place.


This project was all about reinstating a much loved and iconic venue back to Melbourne. The Espy holds a great deal of affection for Melburnians and we received lots of positive feedback about the Espy being ‘reborn’ after a number of years being shut.

There is only one Esplanade Hotel and this is a unique ‘pub style’ venue on a grand scale. It caters to a very broad demographic and across all times of the day. This venue is designed for 1600 patrons, but absorbs that number of people quite easily through all the different spaces that are on offer. The venue and design is ground breaking in its ability to cater to very different crowds, scales and activities all at the same time. Ie: Public bar crowd vs 400 people at a rock concert in the Gershwin Room vs a family having a pub meal in the Espy kitchen vs a business team in the finer dining restaurant vs a couple on a date in the Ghost of Alfred Felton bar… this all happens at the same time and seamlessly.


Safety: Much of the original building had been inaccessible to the public for decades. There was an incredible amount of work required to bring it up to contemporary building standards in the structure, fire services, heating/cooling and ventilation, electrical works and access to all levels for DDA compliance.

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