Vogue Living

Location: Melbourne Flower Merchant
Photography: Hikari Photography & Simon Shiff

Melbourne Flower Merchant set the stage for the second inaugural Women of Excellence event, presented by Vogue Living and BMW. The Dinner Series is about showcasing Australia's foremost creative talent, women who have risen to the top of their professions and have come to define what Australian design means today.

Melbourne Flower Merchant is very different from most florists or venues for that matter, it is a bustling flower market during the day and morphs into a dramatic events space in the evening. Vogue Living asked us to present a concept that would resonate with the design industry yet embody the ideals of the Women that lead the way in Australian Design.

We drew our inspiration from a woman's best friend - Jewels, Emerald was the jewel of choice. It was a colour palette we thought we could showcase well in Melbourne Flower Merchant. With luxury dining in mind it was about creating the unexpected. Towering concrete columns and a concrete counter meant we needed to create a luxury feel and we needed to create comfort aesthetically, the space is very ambient of the evening so there was never a question of visual warmth. Velvet chairs were the hero element of design, we wanted to explore unexpected layers, different finishes, acrylic napkin holders with etched logo to celebrate the support of BMW, clear placemats with natural textured leaves were used as a layer of design, personal monogrammed linen napkins, and bespoke menus all different shades of green that worked well together.

The floral design was left to Melbourne Flower Merchant, again a green palette with layers of green and diverse textures was the core of the design. All slightly varied, patterned leaves, hydrangea, fig branches, lotus pods and hanging amaranthus created some interest with the hero giant leaves the talk of the evening were sourced from Interstate for their sheer size and tone of colour.

We invited Marriner Group Executive Chef David Ricardo to create a sensory menu, aesthetically we wanted the menu to be of a feminine presentation with a playful take on the art of plating.

On arrival guests were greeted with signature cocktails where a culinary style perfume was spritzed over their cocktail, roving canapes were served whilst guests enjoyed a close up look at the new BMW X5 which were on show on the St James forecourt of 555 Bourke Street location. The cars were embellished with beautiful illustrations by Melbourne Flower Merchant's resident Illustrator Sara Sidari.

The dining experience continued throughout the evening with Chefs showing the art of plating live in the space, creating and interactive culinary experience.