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A Look at Life After Lockdown in Melbourne

The people of Australia’s culture capital had been keeping busy in lockdown taking up new skills and hobbies, reimaging their way of living. After 111 days, Melbourne exited lockdown under restrictions on 27 October 2020, to uncover that the people of this community and culture led city weren’t alone in their pursuit for reinvigoration.

With restrictions now having been lifted on life after lockdown in Melbourne from 9 November 2020, the community are itching to feel the familiar thrum of their beloved city. Scouring the awakened city, we’ve discovered how Melbourne’s cityscape has creatively adapted to life after lockdown, bringing solace, life and light back to heart of Australia’s culture capital. To be enjoyed by all, so long as you wear your required fitted face mask.

The six Melbourne streets turning into outdoor dining hubs this summer

Al fresco dining is on the rise this summer in Melbourne as the city’s famed hospitality scene stretches its legs outdoors, adapting operations to life after lockdown. Across Melbourne, six favourite streets and laneways will transform into world-class outdoor dining strips with cafes, restaurants and bars spilling out onto footpaths, street parking and beyond for a well-deserved summer of good food and good times.

Bourke Street east, Russell Street, Lygon Street (Carlton), Errol Street (North Melbourne), Domain Road (South Yarra) and Bellair Street (Kensington) have been chosen as the locations for this outdoor dining transformation. An initiative led by Melbourne city council and the Victorian Government as part of their plan to support local businesses; a move toward reopening Melbourne, returning the city to its former dining glory.

Beyond the reach of these streets, local hospitality businesses across Melbourne city council can join in curbside comradery by applying for a grant of up to $10,000 to assist their outdoor trading expansion.

Outdoor dining Melbourne

The multi-sensory installation coming to Melbourne

After months of lockdown, it’s no wonder that Melbourne is seeking a hefty injection of colour into their beloved cityscape. From 14 November until 14 December, Federation Square will be putting on a light show like no other.

Imagined by Melbourne-based studio, ENESS, specialising in large scale interactive art and installations, Sky Castle will stand as a multi-coloured, immersive, multi-sensory installation built of supersized inflatable arches reminiscent of a rainbow. Designed to be a beacon of light and joy for life after lockdown in Melbourne, this installation is much more than a pretty picture for your Instagram feed. Complete with motion tracking, Sky Castle creates stunning sound and colour scapes as people pass through. Better turn your camera to video mode!

Sky Castle

The pop-up outdoor restaurant taking over Melbourne’s Bond Street this summer

The team from Melbourne’s favourite subterranean Middle Eastern haunt, Maha, are heading to the surface of Bond Street this summer with pop-up outdoor restaurant Layla fronted by Shane Delia, open from Wednesday 11 November 2020. Celebrating life after lockdown, Layla will serve up Middle Eastern brunch yum cha style beneath a marquee alongside crafty cocktails, a rotation of fresh juices, champagne, and Mediterranean flair.

From 9.30am each weekend, curb your travel cravings and join in the COVID-safe brunch revelry, transforming an inner-city Melbourne street into an exotic escape. The mezze offering will extend beyond the brunch hour, fueled by upbeat tunes and Middle Eastern inspired cocktails. Four-legged friends allowed!

Layla, outdoor pop-up restaurant

The large-scale flower installations breathing new life into Melbourne

The saying ‘spring has sprung’ holds a whole new meaning in Melbourne this year. From 14 November 2020, 18 giant floral works will bloom throughout the city’s CBD laneways, streets and public spaces. For two weeks Urban Blooms will inject colour, a sense of growth and new beginning into Melbourne’s life after lockdown cityscape.

This project, born from the City of Melbourne and Victorian Government’s $100 million Melbourne City Recovery Fund, represents the culture and community lead focus of Australia’s culture capital, engaging local florists to create these large-scale installations using locally grown plants. These commissioned works will be joined by a QR code to suggest cafes and stores to visit nearby and will score a second life, converted into small bouquets for local community grounds after their two-weeks street stint. 

Urban Blooms, Melbourne

The blockbuster exhibition kicking off Melbourne’s summer art scene

While Melbourne’s galleries endured lockdown as an echo of their former existence, curators, artists and enthusiasts continued behind the scenes. Ending Melbourne’s art drought, NGV Triennial will return on 19 December 2020 for its second iteration, bringing a blockbuster line-up showcasing 86 works created by over 100 artists, designers and collectives.

Paying focus to themes of illumination, reflection, conservation and speculation, you’ll find a curation of multimedia works carefully and purposefully selected to give Melbourne’s art scene the boost it needed to thrive in life after lockdown. At NGV Triennial, you’ll find works such as a giant mirrored sculpture by Jeff Koons paying homage to Venus the goddess of love, a pavilion made from trees that died during the Millenium Drought, a multi-sensory walkway and so much more.

NGV Triennial 2020