Melbourne’s MV Queenscliff ferry gets a modern makeover and a new terminal

Lucy Marczyk Design Studio transforms the MV Queenscliff ferry into a showroom of contemporary furniture and fresh colour

MV Queenscliff Ferry by Lucy Marczyk Design Studio
The MV Queenscliff Ferry, which operates in Port Phillip Bay
(Image credit: James Geer)

Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay is a large natural harbour just south of the city, enclosed by the Mornington and Bellarine Peninsulas. Crossing this stretch of water more than ten times each day is Searoad Ferries’ MV Queenscliffe, a sturdy car-and-passenger ferry that is a familiar sight for both locals and tourists.

Seating within MV Queenscliff Ferry by Lucy Marczyk Design Studio

Seating areas feature Flos’ ‘Mayday’ lights and Konstantin Grcic’s ‘Bell’ chairs

(Image credit: James Geer)

The vessel has now been given a complete overhaul courtesy of local practice Lucy Marczyk Design Studio, whose recent Solis Houseboat project was an earlier foray into nautical design.

Inside MV Queenscliff

Tables and chairs inside MV Queenscliff Ferry by Lucy Marczyk Design Studio

The ‘Bellini’ chair from Heller, alongside a custom banquette

(Image credit: James Geer)

A ferry is a very different beast, however, particularly a 60m vessel capable of carrying 700 passengers. As well as making the ferry an ambassador for the region, the new MV Queenscliff interiors also needed to be hard-wearing; the boat does up to 4,000 crossings each year, sailing from the peninsula villages of Queenscliff to Sorrento.

Lamps on tables inside MV Queenscliff Ferry

Dining areas include the ‘1 Inch’ chair by Jasper Morrison and Artemide’s ‘Gople’ table lamp

(Image credit: James Geer)

Marczyk and her team have assembled a specification that combines high-quality contemporary furniture with recycled elements, bold graphics, and nautically themed colours. ‘We aimed to debark from the functional and practical ambiance traditionally found in ferry vessels to create an engaging experience for passengers,’ Marczyk says. ‘It’s an experience that creates a sense of place. And one that is uniquely Australian.’

Table with tree trunk legs, and carpet with numbers indicating degrees of latitude and longitude, in MV Queenscliff Ferry

Recycled wood and a bespoke carpet are amongst the custom elements

(Image credit: James Geer)

As well as an onboard café serving fresh food from both peninsulas, the fit-out includes a children’s play area and revived bathrooms, giving what the designers describe as a ‘nod to luxury cruise liners featuring a tongue-in-cheek laminate-look marble, complemented with backlit porthole mirrors, and French navy compact laminate partitions’.

White and blue washroom on MV Queenscliff Ferry

The cruise liner-inspired bathrooms

(Image credit: James Geer)

The glamour continues with the furniture specification, which includes Fritz Hansen ‘Nap’ chairs, Emeco ‘1 Inch’ chairs by Jasper Morrison, and Philippe Starck brushed-aluminium stools, as well as Konstantin Grcic’s ‘Bell’ chairs from Magis, Mario Bellini’s ‘Bellini’ chair from Heller, and Flos ‘Mayday’ lights. The designers also included Bjarke Ingels Group’s ‘Gople’ lamp for Artemide.

Tables and chairs in ferry lounge

The Lonsdale Lounge includes Fritz Hansen ‘Nap’ chairs

(Image credit: James Geer)

Custom colours throughout make references to maritime culture and local navigational landmarks, with interactive digital information screens to show passengers the area. Marczyk’s studio designed the bespoke latitude and longitude Axminster carpet as well as the bespoke banquet seating, while a locally sourced dinghy has been repurposed as part of the play area. The bench seating is made from recycled pier timbers, taken from old wharves in the bay.

Yellow boat and colourful stools in play area on MV Queenscliff Ferry

The playspace includes a real refurbished dinghy

(Image credit: James Geer)

The refreshed and revived MV Queenscliff is now sailing from a new award-winning terminal building, designed by F2 Architecture, which makes a dramatic statement with its curved metal roofs above the dunes. 

Queenscliff Ferry Terminal, F2 Architecture

The new Queenscliff Ferry Terminal by F2 Architecture

(Image credit: Tim Griffith)

Lucy Marczyk Design Studio,, @LucyMarczyk

F2 Architecture,

MV Queenscliff is operated by Searoad Ferries,

Queenscliff Ferry Terminal, F2 Architecture

Inside the new Queenscliff Ferry Terminal by F2 Architecture

(Image credit: Tim Griffith)

Car decks from above on MV Queenscliff Ferry

(Image credit: James Geer)

Jonathan Bell has written for Wallpaper* magazine since 1999, covering everything from architecture and transport design to books, tech and graphic design. He is now the magazine’s Transport and Technology Editor. Jonathan has written and edited 15 books, including Concept Car Design, 21st Century House, and The New Modern House. He is also the host of Wallpaper’s first podcast.