"There was no design brief," McCann says. "But because we have worked together before, there was plenty of trust."
McCann says he took his cue from the edgy, urban location with its backstreet laneways and historic train station.
"I thought why not make something equally gritty and raw, something that fits with Melbourne's strong design ethos? The people of this city embrace good architecture and one-off design it's part of the backlash against chain operations."
With this in mind, McCann steered away from polished marble floors and glittering lights, opting instead for an edgy, industrial look. Textural, blackened steel panels and a reclad dark aluminium canopy highlight the entry, but there are even more surprises inside.
"There is no reception desk," says the designer. "Instead, guests check in at the bar where they can see the restaurant and the open kitchen further back. Everything is on show. We even brought the blackened steel panels inside, as a wall feature."
In one small concession to glamour, the front of the bar counter features a more swept-up version of the textured steel panels here the patterned panels are in solid cast brass, which has been aged, and is backlit to highlight the texture.
Stripping back the wall linings exposed the original concrete walls in the building. These too have been stained and sealed to age the look and warm it up visually. The concrete wall behind the bar is enlivened by a graffiti artwork comprising thousands of matchsticks.
In keeping with the industrial look, the original ceiling panels were removed and services exposed, which added an extra 1.5m to the height of the room. Black flocking was introduced for acoustic insulation, and all the ducting and services were spray painted black.
Black accents also appear in the restaurant and kitchen, which features a sleek, Cosmic Black granite counter. Two black-framed wine towers accommodate bottles and serve as room dividers. Black steelwork also wraps around dining booths enhancing the intimate ambience.