A tiny bar and a six-storey-high cafe are among the winners in this year’s Eat Drink Awards, which celebrate design excellence in hospitality venues that have opened in the past 18 months.
The mini bar, the Pink Moon Saloon, snuggled into a disused alleyway in central Adelaide, has taken out the best bar design and best identity design in this year’s awards, announced on Wednesday.
The cheeky watering hole occupies a site just 3.66 metres wide by 28 metres deep, and is sandwiched between office blocks. In a stroke of pragmatic genius, the bar and kitchen can be relocated, and the original alleyway restored to its original use, if necessary.
Named after the album Pink Moon, by Nick Drake, the bar was designed by architecture practice Sans-Arc Studio, with graphics and brand identity by Peculiar Familia.
The watering hole occupies a site 3.66 metres wide by 28 metres deep. Photo: Supplied
This is the fifth design award for the bar owned by Crispian Fielke, Josh Baker, Dana Whyte, Matt Standen and Marshall King.
Fourth-year graduate architect Matiya Marovich took inspiration from travels to Nepal, basing his design on the idea of a campsite or place for the weary traveller to rest.
Of particular influence were Himalayan mountain huts built with limited resources and locally available materials.
“Every region has its own vernacular depending on the trees and stone available, and different nuances and elements are associated with particular regions. The colours of the huts are also eccentric,” he said. “Sometimes it felt like they had used the leftover paint from the paint shop.”
Drawing on local Adelaide architecture and materials to create a hut-like structure that would strike a chord with its surroundings, the bar is clad in locally sourced Australian hardwood and recycled pieces of spotted gum, Tasmanian oak and ironbark. Besser-block walls and paving reflect recognisable elements of Adelaide masonry.
On a different scale is Melbourne’s Higher Ground, by Design Office, which was awarded best café design.
Set within the six-storey shell of a former electricity substation, the stylish eatery owned by Nathan Toleman, Ben Clark, Diamond Rozakeas, Sam Slattery, Kim Sheridan and with executive chef Nate Wilkins is located just west of Melbourne’s Spencer Street station.
Higher Ground is set within the six-storey shell of a former electricity substation. Photo: Supplied
Higher Ground is a potential game changer in Melbourne hospitality for its unusual flexibility as a place to meet, work, drink and eat.
Communal tables by day transform into large dining tables by night, while low-slung couches and smaller tables and chairs with lamp lighting make many intimate places to sit and watch the goings-on.
During the planning stages, Design Office sat chairs on tables on chairs to test what visual relationships they could create with window, floor and street level.
Architect Mark Simpson and business partner Damien Mulvihill are big fans of split-level spaces.
“In a way it’s similar to the staircase we did for Cult [furniture] where we created seven levels over three,” Simpson said. “For us it was about making the scale human.”
Other award winners
Best Restaurant Design – Dinner by Heston Blementhal, Vic, by Bates Smart
Best Retail Design – Lune Croissanterie, Vic, by Studio Esteta
Eat Drink Design Awards Hall of Fame – Il Bacaro, Vic, by Chris Connell Design
For more details see www.eat-drink-design.com