Inside the Manchester Unity Building

Recently I was invited to take lunch at The Manchester Unity Building and it was like stepping back in time. Their website tells us:

“The tallest building in Melbourne and built in the modern commercial Gothic style in 1932, the Manchester Unity Building was described by the Melbourne Age as a ‘Wonder Building’, with ‘every modern convenience for tenants and their clients’. It was far ahead of its time, in terms of both aesthetic splendour and technological sophistication.”

The current owners of level 1, 11 and 12(which encompasses the board room level and rooftop tower) Smile Solutions have poured an incredible about of time and detail into preserving things like fire places, light fittings, glass ware – even the gold leaf lettering on the doors.

I’ve been curious about this building for a while having heard of the treasures it belies, so it was such a thrill to go behind the art deco elevators and take a look around.

The website tells the history so much better than I ever could so if you are so inclined you can read about it here:

Can you detect a hint of nervousness in my face here? That’s because I’m standing next to glass ware, where every single piece has been individually sourced. No, you can’t just pick up a new piece at Ikea if you break it. Best behaviour advised.

  • It’s my favourite building in Melbourne!
    I love to sit across the street, drinking a coffee and making up stories about who came and went from the building “back in the day”. I imagine all manner of Poirot style adventures and mysteries…and the fashion!
    How very lucky you are to be invited in. 🙂
    Thank you for sharing.

  • kellieanneb

    my nana took me there when I was a small child. She was visiting a jeweller who had an office on one of the floors. Thank you for reminding me of that special memory.xoxo

  • Now THAT is a wine glass! Stunning pics! x

  • …and I ended up loving it so much that I had to include a nod to your post in my ‘Loveliest Links’ round-up.

    Thanks again for sharing your beautiful photos!

  • Just absolutely stunning. The Typing Room door is the height of it for me – the font of the lettering and the geometry of the break in the frosting on the glass… Beautiful!

    Thanks so much for sharing these photos, Lady Melbourne! Your outfit is gorgeous, by the way, and of course it’s absolutely perfectly suited to the time period of the building! So well done, all around. Cheers!