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Sydney coffee cart among the winners of the Eat Drink Design Awards

November 15, 2017

Sydney venues dominated the Eat Drink Design 2017 awards. Photo: Trevor Mein

With Aussie foodies becoming savvier by the minute, the taste and quality of the food, no matter how good, just won’t cut it if the dining environment is below par.

Design, decor, fitout and the ambience it creates are all just as important for creating a quality (and Insta-worthy) dining experience and, in turn, a profitable hospitality business.

Commercial Real Estate reported last month on five of the most remarkable spaces shortlisted in this year’s Eat Drink Design Awards, and now the winners have been announced, with venues in Sydney sweeping up three of the five awards for hospitality design.

Best bar design – The Dolphin Hotel, Sydney

Designed by George Livissianis, the Dolphin Hotel in Sydney’s Surry Hills gives the vibe of an artful industrial ruin.

A Surry Hills institution for many decades, the Dolphin Hotel was relaunched with a new look last year. Photo: Tom Ferguson A Surry Hills institution for many decades, the Dolphin Hotel was relaunched with a new look last year. Photo: Tom Ferguson

The whitewashed industrial design is a fresh look for the pub. Photo: Tom Ferguson The whitewashed industrial design is a fresh look for the pub. Photo: Tom Ferguson

The whitewashed colour scheme is complemented by the graffiti-style wall menus, chipped plaster walls, exposed bricks, hanging wires and stools still wrapped in plastic.

Contributing to the debate of Sydney’s lockout laws, the “keep Sydney open” messages add a layer of meaning to the historic venue.

Best restaurant design – Viet Next Door, Adelaide

Adelaide is known for its authentic Vietnamese cuisine, especially Pennington, which was the first Australian home for many Vietnamese migrants.

Viet Next Door isn't your average family-owned restaurant. Photo: Jonathan VDK Viet Next Door isn’t your average family-owned restaurant. Photo: Jonathan VDK

The design incorporates materials that reference Vietnamese culture. Photo: Jonathan VDK The design incorporates materials that reference Vietnamese culture. Photo: Jonathan VDK

Designers Genesin Studio has taken Viet Next Door, a Vietnamese tapas bar and restaurant in Pennington, away from run-of-the-mill family-owned restaurants.

The simple materials were key to the design concept of cultural ties and paid homage to owner and chef Ben Phan’s family background, while using South Australian talents to emphasise local quality.

Design highlights include the custom-made light fittings, eggshell mosaic tables and the woven grass wallpaper framed with oak – inspired by Vietnamese bamboo huts.

Best cafe design – Morris and Heath, Melbourne

Described by the jury as “one of the most remarkable outcomes seen among this year’s entrants”, Morris and Heath in Melbourne’s Hoppers Crossing has continued the city’s domination of cafe design awards.

Morris and Heath is in Melbourne's outer west, where there is huge potential for upmarket cafes. Photo: Tom Blachford Morris and Heath is in Melbourne’s outer west, where there is huge potential for upmarket cafes. Photo: Tom Blachford

The timber panels and battens create a comfortable ambience. Photo: Tom Blachford The timber panels and battens create a comfortable ambience. Photo: Tom Blachford

Surrounded by eucalyptus forests and precast concrete warehouse, the 125-square-metre space juxtaposes against this environment with a warm atmosphere, fulfilling its design concept of “a place of refuge”.

The spotted gum timber panels that line the walls are a centrepiece of the design by Ritz and Ghougassian, while the battens create a sense of drama for the space.

Best retail design – Campos Barangaroo, Sydney

A bold design for the corporate skyscraper it’s located in, the 17-square-metre Campos Barangaroo by Woods Bagot proves that good things come in small packages.

Campos Barangaroo is in Tower Three of the International Towers Sydney. Photo: Trevor Mein Campos Barangaroo is in Tower Three of the International Towers Sydney. Photo: Trevor Mein

The "jewellery box" adds to the geometric aesthetic of the sandstone wall backdrop. Photo: Trevor Mein The “jewellery box” adds to the geometric aesthetic of the sandstone wall backdrop. Photo: Trevor Mein

An engineer’s dream, the clean, industrial lines of the coffee kiosk forms a boxy, minimalist structure. But this is anything but boring, with the cafe earning the nickname “jewellery box” thanks to its shiny facade.

The brass frame and brass mesh siding grabs attention straight away and the grey marble counter only adds to the glamour. The furniture in the outdoor dining area is designed to match this style harmoniously.

Best installation design – Noma Australia, Sydney

Four-time winner of Restaurant magazine’s World’s Best Restaurant award, Noma’s 10-week camp down under is impressive looking at its numbers alone, taking only four minutes to sell out all 5500 seats, not to mention a waiting list of 27,000.

Noma was in Sydney's Barangaroo for just 10 weeks. Photo: Photo: Paul Barbera Noma was in Sydney’s Barangaroo for just 10 weeks. Photo: Photo: Paul Barbera

The design paid homage to the Australian landscape through the use of rammed earth. Photo: Paul Barbera The design paid homage to the Australian landscape through the use of rammed earth. Photo: Paul Barbera

But being a temporary installation didn’t mean Noma would forgo quality or scale. Foolscap Studio was tasked with designing the pop-up restaurant that still needed a full-scale fit-out across 500 square metres, including everything from research-and-development labs to front-of-house features.

The design’s representations of Australian land and water, the main sources of Noma’s native ingredients, was brought out through the rammed earth walls, Australian clays and bluestone, as well as the use of light and glass.

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