If you were tuned in to Channel 7 or Prime over the weekend, you might have seen a familiar face.
The Smile Solutions team welcomed Coxy’s Big Break into the Manchester Unity Building late last year. We all excitedly tuned in to watch our segment when it went to air over the weekend.
If you missed out, join presenter Rhys Uhlich and Smile Solutions’ Dr Kia Pajouhesh as they show you around the home of Smile Solutions and Melbourne’s grand old lady, the Manchester Unity Building.
If you’d like more information about the Manchester Unity Building or would like to see more of the beautiful decor, visit the Manchester Unity Building website.
This episode of Coxy’s Big Break originally aired on Sunday, 1 March 2015.
[Season 4, Episode 3, Segment 2]
Presenter – Rhys Uhlich: When it comes to iconic places in the heart Melbourne, the Manchester Unity Building is always on the list – and imagine staying here?! But more on that later. First things first. Can I get one small cappuccino?
Switchboard Café Barista: You sure can.
Presenter – Rhys Uhlich: This is a pretty small place!
Switchboard Café Barista: The smallest in Melbourne.
Presenter – Rhys Uhlich: What was it beforehand?
Switchboard Café Barista: Well back in the 30s this was the switchboard for the Manchester Unity Building. You could actually make your international calls here as well. The ladies were in here changing the switches over.
Presenter – Rhys Uhlich: Wow. And my history lesson continues via the first escalators in Victoria. Dr Kia, I’m blown away by this room – tell me you didn’t restore it yourself?
Dr Kia Pajouhesh: Not personally, but it is an incredible room, isn’t it?
Presenter – Rhys Uhlich: Dr Kia owns the dental practice that occupies the top floors and the tower of this incredible building. That table in itself is just a phenomenon.
Dr Kia Pajouhesh: It’s incredible. That boardroom table was constructed on site back in 1932 and the glass was shipped across the ocean from Europe into Australia. And the glass was obviously too big to be brought in through the normal channels of the building, and was put through the ceiling before the building was complete.
Presenter – Rhys Uhlich: Now speaking to you, I feel like I’m speaking to an historian but your actually in dentistry – what a unique thing to have in this building.
Dr Kia Pajouhesh: Well, it’s funny you say that because dentists, in their own little ways are tiny little architects working on individual teeth.
Presenter – Rhys Uhlich: You’ve just taken on a really big tooth, here?
Dr Kia Pajouhesh: You get to a point in dentistry where you realise that all your beautiful work is only going to be cherished and enjoyed by one person at a time. Whereas with this place, a restoration – which is what we do when we restore a tooth – a restoration is here to be enjoyed by many people.
Presenter – Rhys Uhlich: Upstairs, I heard, is pretty impressive too?
Dr Kia Pajouhesh: Smile Solutions occupies four floors and the tower of the building, and so we have gone through over the past 12 years, and restored all of those spaces.
Presenter – Rhys Uhlich: To keep this in dentistry terms, I’ve been allowed to go to the crown of the building. The only way up is by the 80 year old spiral staircase. We are high up, it must have been one of the tallest buildings in it’s day, surely?
Dr Kia Pajouhesh: It is, in fact Rhys, it was the tallest building in its day. 40 metres was the maximum height restriction. They managed to build that 40 metres throughout the 12 floors of the building, and then build another 24 metres – another 5 stories for the tower of the building.
Presenter – Rhys Uhlich: How did they get away with it though, getting higher?
Dr Kia Pajouhesh: The five stories they built was an uninhabitable space, at the time.
Presenter – Rhys Uhlich: So being the tallest building in Melbourne was pretty important in that day?
Dr Kia Pajouhesh: It was. Especially for a health insurance who was trying to promote themselves as a beacon of hope during the depression at the time.
Presenter – Rhys Uhlich: And that staircase is phenomenal, isn’t it?
Dr Kia Pajouhesh: That staircase is very special and it has quite an eerie squeak to it.
Presenter – Rhys Uhlich: It does, but it still feels like it’s holding my weight – which is great.
Dr Kia Pajouhesh: Well, yes I think it is.
Presenter – Rhys Uhlich: Me, yes – Coxy, maybe not.
Presenter – Rhys Uhlich: What an impressive place. And ff you do remember, I did say at the start – imagine staying here?
Now I’ve brought you down to the 10th floor to show you this fantastic – wow! Oh no… this won’t do. [The presenter – Rhys, leaves the shot and gets changed into a suit jacket and tie]
Now this is a much better look for this apartment.
Like the rest of the building, the two-bedroom loft has been fully restored to an immaculate level. With original ceilings and windows looking out to the city – it has everything I need to make my stay very, very comfortable. I’m in a building steeped with history, and I’m sipping a fantastic vintage and I’ve got Melbourne happening on my doorstep – now that’s a great trio.