ciao cielo, port melbourne

The Port Melbourne Courthouse was designed by notable nineteenth century public works architect JJ Clark with construction commencing in 1860. The building, along with the adjacent police station and lock-up served Victorians for over a century before taking on a series of other roles including most recently as a restaurant. Upon Ciao Cielo’s recent purchase of the site and with Heritage Victoria’s studious overview and a conservation management plan, the facility was significantly upgraded and extended to provide contemporary dining spaces supported by state of the art cooking facilities. The passage of time has cast a Piranesian character over the building providing a beautiful textural patina against which the refined modern interventions counterpoint. A white and grey veined porcelain bar, crowned by a suspended tracery of steel housing glasses and spirits, provides the centrepiece in a sea of timeless Thonet chairs and tables surrounded by a leather upholstered banquette.

photographer: Kevin Li