Boutique Design - June 2017 - 38
5 Real plants would have added
too much weight to the ceiling
structure, so artificial greenery
was used to soften the concrete
and glass-heavy architecture.
boutiquedesign.com JUNE 2017
GRANT AMON ARCHITECTS
Grant Amon Architects:
Grant Amon, director and
project architect; Stephen
Fabric Interior Exterior: Rebecca Lombardo,
interior architect; Vince
Marino, design and
Grant Amon Architects
Fabric Interior Exterior
Floral by Design
Bespoke Light; Pretty
REBECCA LOMBARDO AND VINCE MARINO
FABRIC INTERIOR EXTERIOR
IBC Tanks & Pallets
COURTESY OF FABRIC INTERIOR E X TERIOR (LOMBARDO AND MARINO);
BRET T GOLDSTEIN (AMON); GRIFFIN SIMM (ABSINTHESALON)
The "boutique" mentality-a small footprint and a super-specific product-has gone from
retail to hospitality to restaurants. Another red-hot outpost for that niche market? Nightlife
venues that eschew the idea of a basic bar, or, indeed, a basic bar menu and thrive on ultracurated food (and drink) choices and escapist vibes.
Case in point: Absinthesalon Melbourne. As the offer revolves around the notorious (but
legal, albeit with restrictions in many countries) beverage, Grant Amon Architects and interior
designer Fabric Interior Exterior rethought the space flow around the experience of drinking it.
Both Amon and Fabric's interior architect Rebecca Lombardo wanted to move away from
a typical bar structure. Instead, guests are welcomed into the venue with a lush display of
various absinthes in what Lombardo calls a reverse bar, with glasses stored in a smaller
display further into the venue.
So much for making the design "work." Both teams also wanted to bring artiness and
edge to the look of the space, without losing an industrial aura So, they turned to 2D focal
points, such as dancing skeleton images on polished concrete floor and slightly trippy murals
on the walls and floors to add interest, and focused on the ceiling as the canvas for playing
with texture in the form of hundreds of single flower-shaped lights.
Projects like this aren't just novelty acts. Instead, they are bellwethers for a new kind of
storytelling that's more short story than epic. Sure, the art traces absinthe's history, but
beyond those murals, Lombardo keeps the emphasis exactly where she wants it.
"Inside, the lighting is designed to have important focal features. The tables, art pieces
and bar are clearly lit, leaving the remaining spaces shrouded in theatrical shadow," she says.
"This allows a feeling of mystique to be maintained while still letting customers read their
menus," she says.
Leave that green fairy out of it, already. Business might not be "usual," but it's still business. Sorry, designers-even flights of fancy need a GPS. £