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Finding harmony in design, art and light

In recent years, there has been a distinct shift in the landscape of hotel design with greater ambition in form and more courage in execution at its heart. Carr is at the forefront of this evolution, frequently challenging perceptions, driving for change and designing for the future.

Perhaps in one of the most daring and forward-thinking moves in the hotel industry to date, Carr brought the boutique hotel, Jackalope, to life with stunning geometric forms that reflect the design ethos, culture, place of the founders and the people who live in the Mornington Peninsula. Resting on Australia’s infamous wine region, Jackalope showcases modern hotel design in the purest of forms and represents a new breed of brave and experiential architecture.

Possibly the most talked about luxury design of 2017, Jackalope spans across 11-hectares, consists of 46 guest rooms and various architectural and interior spaces. Coming from a family of hotel developers, Louis Li (the founder) together with Carr brought his fearless concept to life, merging his love of the arts with his family legacy. The seamless collaboration of Li and Carr entirely redefined hotel design and marked a significant milestone that will be praised for years to come.

Jackalope Hotel, Mornington Peninsula, Architecture & Interiors: Carr Structural Engineer: Wood & Grieve Engineers Photographed by Sharyn Cairns

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There is a harmony between design, art and light that weaves a unique narrative that is unique to Jackalope. With Li using the hotel concept as his creative platform; Jackalope is an effort to meld his passions of the arts, design and food. With a vision to transport guests away from the norm and an intent to provide an abstract experience.

Breaking the traditions and boundaries of standard design, Carr sparked curiosity early in this bold and daring transformation.

Based upon new technologies of construction, Jackalope has an extraordinarily contemporary and intrepid aesthetic which connects historical architecture with restored heritage. Jackalope features a spectacular seven-metre high sculpture by local artist Emily Floyd and UAP Studio which welcomes you upon arrival, one part of a world-class collection of art and furniture explicitly created for the project.

Chris McCue leads the architecture and residential interior portfolio of Carr. On Jackalope he states; “Architecture that is unprecedented and unconventional with a simplicity and subtlety of strength and form that belies what lies within. The monolithic, blackened structure provides a vivid juxtaposition to the rich green, red and silver foliage of the landscape and adjacent vines yet integrates seamlessly with its surrounds.”

Dan Cox, Carr’s Director of Interiors, goes on to say, “Interiors celebrate the mystery and whimsy of alchemy and the art of transformation with tonal elements of gold, silver, copper and bronze throughout. Spaces reflect and embrace the alchemist’s workshop – eclectic, experimental and contemporary in detailing – forming something truly unique and rare.”

Jackalope’s 46 rooms introduce guests to a world of relaxation, Photographed by Sharyn Cairns


As any architect will tell you, various elements impact hotel design; over the last five years, we have seen the rise of ‘localised’ design, trendy independent ‘lifestyle’ hotels and animated public areas. Every hotel design has a unique vision and idea but should always consider and observe the cultural expectations of the particular region. Carr approached Jackalope with the design intention of weaving a sense of place with the expressive art-inspired vision of Li.

Considering this, Carr took a bold and modern take on the native architecture; creating a border around Jackalope with indigenous and non-indigenous plants, encapsulating the historical form of its surroundings. “We wanted the hotel to be recessive in the landscape and allow views of the vineyards and the established eucalypts to come to the fore,” says McCue. Although Carr immersed their structure around Jackalope’s environment, they remained respectful and mindful of interfering with the vineyards and the 20th-century Edwardian homestead.

Jackalope utilises its environment by sourcing quality food from the Mornington Peninsula, building relationships with locals who are growing food, especially for the hotel. Guests can also experience barrel tastings, private tours or breakfast amid the vines which creates an authentic and engaging experience and showcases local culture as an inherent component of the hotel design.

As we see from Jackalope, the success of creating a genuine and authentic experience for guests lies within designers working closely to understand the local culture and immersing the concept in it. As such, supplementing hotel concepts with the culture of local influence will keep designers in line with the progressive movements of the industry.

Lighting installation in Jackalope’s signature restaurant Doot Doot Doot, Photographed by Sharyn Cairns


Lighting throughout Jackalope has been designed to provide an otherworldly experience, rich with narrative and imagination while transporting guests away from the every day with a fusion of art, design and storytelling. True to its name, Jackalope merges fantasy and reality, with the assistance of innovative and creative architectural lighting.

The idea of movement defines the lighting of Jackalope’s signature restaurant Doot Doot Doot, fittingly referencing distillation and fermentation which was collaboratively designed by Carr and Fabio Ongarato Design. In a spectacular display, a 10x8m luminaire floats above the main dining room. This feature encapsulates modern design, defined by 10,000 globes shaped like flasks, test tubes and beakers. Through repetition and massing, the globes are transformed from a simple light source to a golden, textural sculpture as waves of light wash the ceiling wrapping diners below in a magical, mesmerising glow.

You’ll find spectacular quartz like circular pendants on entry in the luxury suites, while guest corridors feature neon blue and gold linear lighting. This illumination tracks across the ceiling, with Carr intentionally referencing various astrological constellations through the linear application.

A genuinely unique lighting project; Carr left no stone unturned throughout this hotel, showcasing the boundless possibilities that correct lighting provides.


When it comes to the core architecture and design details behind Jackalope, there is a distinct celebration of the hotel’s origin; with an original 18th-century federation cottage restored to be an adjoining lounge and bar. Where old meets new, the architecture has been meticulously and sensitively restored to utilise the original space.

Pulling away from the conservatism of the heritage listed house and in a nod of experimentation and confidence, unique and unconventional features influence the interiors of this hotel. “The lounge interiors are dominated by test tube glass vessels that line the walls, a marble-clad bar acting as the alchemist’s workbench, jewel-like objects and iconic, statement furniture including Edra’s Gold Leather Works armchair and an electric blue billiard table,” Carr states.

Flaggerdoot Cocktail Bar at Jackalope Hotel, Photographed by Sharyn Cairns


A core focus for the design of this hotel was sustainability, which is prevalent throughout Jackalope. Carr notes that ecologically sustainable design strategies were considered at the earliest opportunity in the design process, proving the relationship between built and natural environments was a strong influence for the hotel. With sustainability being a vital consideration for the design community, it is more crucial than ever for hotel design to launch into similarly innovative and progressive responsibilities.

“Rather than simply attaching green technology to a conventional building, we strove for an integrated solution that considered both passive and active systems. We worked proactively within an interdisciplinary team to create Jackalope’s sustainable buildings that are innovative in nature and holistic in their approach,” Carr confirms.

Geode Pool Bar at Jackalope Hotel, Photographed by Sharyn Cairnsz

The project incorporated many environmentally sustainable design initiatives including stormwater collection, on-site wastewater treatment and recycling, recycled material selection and energy efficient selection of fixtures, fittings and equipment. Carr also implemented 100% on-site treatment of water and sewage, solar heated hot water systems and on-site composting of all food waste for fertiliser.

Through this design, Carr demonstrates that carefully balanced procedures will reduce costs and improve efficiency by implementing better working conditions and continually develop environmental technologies. Strategies for reducing, reusing and recycling waste are vital for a hotel’s long-term sustainability creating better guest experiences and an improved corporate brand image, along with economic incentives.

Carr proves through the idea of Jackalope that leading hotel concepts will leverage emerging technologies and socially sustainable trends, which will, in turn, create a unique experience for guests.

Empowering its guests to expand their world and their way of thinking continually, Jackalope Hotel redefines luxury and beauty on an international scale. In a celebration of the origins of alchemy, Carr has designed a hotel that will take guests on a visual journey, offering a truly unique experience through the concept, architecture and interiors. On the completion of the hotel, Louis Li stated; “Carr’s ability to achieve immersive storytelling with a sophisticated and luxurious outcome exceeded my expectations.”

Collaboratively, what Carr and Li have produced, is an entirely new experience of the countryside on the Mornington Peninsula. Utterly redefining the term ‘destination hotel,’ Jackalope has brought to life a future icon of hotel design. Designed in the style of modern minimalism; Jackalope offers a new-concept in guest experience, fuelled by transformative and design-driven thinking.

Architecture & Interiors: Carr, Structural & Electrical Engineer: Wood & Grieve Engineers, Builder: VCON, Identity & Environmental Design: Fabio Ongarato Design, Architectural Lighting: Supplied by Lights & Tracks, Doot Doot Doot: Jan Flook Lighting, Jenka and Jackyak: Jan Flook Lighting, Chemie lighting: Rolf Sachs, Prometheus III: Christopher Boots.