Home' Commercial : WAs Best Commercial Designs 2011 Contents WA’s Best Commercial Designs 2011 165
f every bar tells a story then prepare to do some wider reading. It’s not
every day the social landscape of a State is transformed, but Perth’s
new small bar scene (courtesy of a shake-up of the liquor licensing
laws) is gathering momentum. At the same time, the idea of a bar
as the architectural embodiment of the night has undergone a dramatic
transformation: less glam, more sophisticated and much more comfortable.
Australian restaurant critic and food writer Pat Nourse said recently “in
good restaurants people aren’t afraid to throw stuff around”. Pat wasn’t talking
about the food – he was commenting on a general return to ‘maximalism’.
A more in-depth explanation is given by Brandon Cross, director at Cross
Design, whose firm has worked on projects including Steves Fine Wine and
Food in Nedlands. Brandon says: “People don’t want to feel as if they’re
standing in a desolate desert statement anymore. They want to feel as if they
are not on show, and minimalism puts people on show. They want little
nooks and crannies – anonymity, to a degree. The trend is to create almost
home-style warmth with more tactile finishes that have rawness: the intense
coldness of minimalism is dead and gone.
“As you start using warmer materials and richer finishes, the atmosphere
starts to build. Now, if you want to be a glass box on the river, you wouldn’t
use that, but most places want to get people in and make them comfortable.
I’m not talking about old world, rich carpet and turned chairs – it has to be a
blend between the contemporary and the old that gives a comfortable feel.”
And the ‘stuff’ that Pat Nourse referred to? It could be a ‘found’ object or
bespoke fittings and furniture made from vintage items. “It’s about familiar
pieces used in unfamiliar ways, and allowing something designed and planned
to retain a sense of the homemade,” says Amy Lang, design manager at Bremick
Design + Build, which designed and built Perth’s Wolfe Lane Bar inside an old
ABOVE The foyer for the Crown Metropol, designed by Bates Smart, is a
mix of open space and striking art features. OPPOSITE Bremick Design + Build
turned unfinished walls into a feature at Hush Espresso in Fremantle.
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