Monday 29 February 2016

3 amazing offices in Melbourne city

Many of us secretly harbor the dream of having a place of work that suits our personal taste and style (but alas, not so many of us poor employees can have such dream fulfilled in our lifetime).

Some desire to have a secluded space to accomplish tons of daily tasks without much distraction; some love to work amidst greenery under a warm bright canopy; some dream of working in an open plan workspace where colleagues can share inspiring ideas and cheerful snippets from time to time.

Below are 3 amazing offices located within the city of Melbourne that can perhaps provoke your inspirations to design your very unique dream office.

1.         DesignInc

Situated at the second floor of the heritage-listed GPO Building at Bourke Street, the office environment of the DesignInc Studio stays true to the firm’s design philosophy,:- “the built environment should be an extension of the natural world and take inspiration from nature”. 

The DesignInc Studio is a very cool open space workplace offering a healthy work environment with access to bright natural light and fresh air. Green plants are visible at every corner of the workplace. The office even has a sizeable balcony garden with edible vegetables and plants.

Another interesting fact of this office: The centre of DesignInc’s corner studio is apparently the central point from which the road distances from Melbourne are measured.

 Location: Level 2, GPO Building, 350 Bourke Street, Melbourne 3000

 2.         Escala Partners

Three words to describe the office: Elegant, sophisticated and glamorous!

Stepping into the office is like arriving at a dazzling social club of mid-century Manhattan. With its luxurious leather couches, contemporary pendant lights, and stylish bar-cum-reception table; the atmosphere has the potential to easily turn a serious talk of money and wealth management into a light-hearted handshake and deal. 

The project was a finalist of the prestigious Interior Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) 2014.

Location: Level 19, 90 Collins Street, Melbourne 3000

3.         Folk Architects, Nicholas Building

The exterior of the building is massive, ancient and unassuming. The elevator brought us up to the office was old, slow, and narrowly confined. The corridor spaces are modest and unsophisticated, with boring cream tiled walls and linoleum floors.

Despite that, there was some inexplicably romantic atmosphere associated with this nine-floor majestic building, which used to be one of the rare 30 “limit-height” buildings built while the strict regulations were in force between 1916 and 1957.

With its largely intact interiors, the Nicholas Building provides excellent example of an office in the 1920s era. The building houses mostly independent creative designers these days. Folk Architect are one the current tenants of Nicholas Building. The office is private, simple, with a fantastic view of the modern city of Melbourne.

Location: Nicholas Building, 37 Swanston Street, Melbourne 3000.

Saturday 27 February 2016

There is a dragon in town

Do you know Melbourne city is the home to the largest Chinese dragon in the world?

This majestic Millennium Dragon is over 3 metres high, requires eight people just to carry the head, and has over 100 dragon legs! During its usual rest days, the dragon hibernates in the Chinese Museum of Melbourne, proudly winding its way down from the ground floor to the lower ground floor of the building, while pompously displaying its regal body of embroidered fabrics, fur and sequins to the curious visitors.

The dragon is awakened during the Chinese Spring Festival (January or February each year) and the Moomba Festival (in March, coinciding with the Labour Day long weekend), when it would ostentatiously show off its grandeur by parading the city streets with the accompaniment of a massive group of musical percussion, carriers of traditional banners, lanterns and lion dance troupes.

Surely a spectacle you do not want to miss! Even our Melbourne tram needs to halt its journey to give way and pay homage to its majestic appearance!

Your next chance to sight the glamorous dragon is on 14 March 2016 at the Moomba Parade along St Kilda Road. For more information, see:

3 places to get unbelievably cheap second-hand books in Melbourne

I love the fresh scent of papers emanated from a brand new book, but second-hand books are the true treasures with a bargain.

Below are my three favourite places to get second-hand books in the city of Melbourne.

1.         The New International Bookshop

Located inconspicuously in the basement of an ancient looking Trades Hall, the New International Bookshop prides itself of being a faithful collector of “new and classic left books”, and its passion and close association with the left/ progressive politics.

Granted that you might not be a fan of the trade unions or the socialist ideology, I guess that shouldn’t stop you from stopping by to purchase some good old donated second-hand books, with prices as cheap as $2!

The bookstore has a $2 corridor with a large stock of second-hand books of all genres from novels, history, politics, art, cooking and even gardening! There is a separate second-hand room, equipped with a soft comfortable sofa, surrounded by a wide array of cheap old books ranging from $2 to $20 each. 

A few of my most awesome collections of books purchased from this secretive bookshop: a Jamie Oliver cookbook and a humourous travel novel from Bill Bryson.

Opening hours:

Tuesday – Friday 12:00pm – 7:00pm
Saturday – 1:00pm – 5:00pm
Closed on public holidays and during January

Basement of Trades Hall, 54 Victoria St, Carlton, Melbourne, 3053 (corner of Lygon St)


2.         Little Library at Melbourne Central

Borrow or take a book home without the need to fill out any lengthy membership registration form. A literary gem for book lovers to swap books; simply take one of your choice home, return it at your leisure or bring any old books from home for an exchange. The last time I went, there were plenty of Mandarin and Japanese books, amidst the great collection of English novels, recipe books and literatures of diverse genres.


Level 2 Cnr LaTrobe and Swanston Street, right next to the Food Hall at Melbourne Central.

Open daily.

3.         City Library Sale

This exciting event happens once a while, when the library was bursting with too many books (those that are no longer in the right condition for the shelves, haven’t been popular or that have been donated and can no longer be used). The last sale was held on 30 May 2015. All second-hand books of all types, fiction and non-fiction, were sold at the unbelievable price of $1 each!


253 Flinders Lane, Melbourne Victoria 3001 Australia

Do you know any other fantastic places to get a great bargain on books? Share it with us here!