[MEL18]

2018 Melbourne Design Awards

spaces, objects, visual, graphic, digital & experience design, design champion, best studio & best start-up, plus over 40 specialist categories

accelerate transformation, celebrate courage, growing demand for design

 
Photo Credit : Ivy Photography and Production

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Project Overview

Unlock the senses and step into a world of forgotten time, where this opulent European mansion has been transformed into an eclectic and rebellious playground. The Locksmith is an intensely stylized and conceptual three-story restaurant, cocktail and beer garden. But everything is not as it seems.

Entering from the ground floor, The Locksmith is sophisticated and traditional, but as you make your way upwards the interior personality starts to change. The cocktail bar on the first floor is moodier and more enigmatic and drenched in lush velvets, ghoulish fixtures and eclectic props. By the time you’ve completely surrendered to The Locksmith’s charm, you enter the rooftop garden where animals run wild amidst overgrown vines, brass monkeys and floral motifs.

Project Commissioner

The Locksmith

Project Creator

Studio Y.

Team

Yaron Kanor, Lead Designer and Creative Director
Sophie Metcalfe, Interior Designer

Project Brief

Studio Y’s humble brief was this: to create the next best restaurant in the world. Our clients wanted to take the most exciting elements of the Melbourne design, food and beverage industry and inject them into the cultural district of Foshan, China.

Our response was to create a three-story restaurant, cocktail and beer garden. Intensely stylized and conceptual, The Locksmith is like an abandoned European mansion, an eclectic and rebellious playground that transports you to an enigmatic world of intrigue. The name itself inspires mystery and suggests you’re entering something quite unexpected.

Entering from the ground floor, The Locksmith is sophisticated and traditional, but as you make your way upwards the interior personality starts to change. The cocktail bar on the first floor is moodier and more enigmatic and drenched in lush velvets, ghoulish fixtures and eclectic props. By the time you’ve completely surrendered to The Locksmith’s charm, you enter the rooftop garden where animals run wild amidst overgrown vines, brass monkeys and floral motifs.

Project Need

The cultural district of Foshan hasn’t seen anything quite like The Locksmith before. Taking the most exciting elements of the Melbourne design, food and beverage industry and injecting them into the local area hasn’t been done previously, especially by an international designer.

The food is modern Australian with a Mediterranean influence, a style that hasn’t been seen in China either, but it is served in a style the locals are familiar with to encourage an approach to dining that's as adventurous as the venue itself.

The Locksmith is an experience in every sense of the word. Everything from the music to the staff uniform, door knobs and the light fixtures were all carefully selected to play their part in transporting visitors to a different time and place; to give them a feeling “you can’t quite put your finger on” and one they’ve certainly not experienced before.

Design Challenge

Designing something remotely always poses challenges like sourcing materials and managing the build. We hired a local stylist to specifically manage finding matching fixtures and finishes. That aside there was also the demands of learning new building codes and regulations specific to China. We needed to be sensitive to the tropical climate as well since the rooftop beer garden was to be open air and that part of China experiences high levels of humidity.

Some of the joinery and interior elements required rigorous detailing. The ceiling panels in the cocktail lounge for example each include a recessed LED light which up lights the framing and creates a multifaceted depth to the ceiling.

Our clients granted us the freedom to design without concern for Chinese cultural norms. They wanted something you could find in Melbourne, New York or London. In spite of this it was challenging to get initial approval for some elements that were integral to the concept, such as the idea of unisex bathrooms. In the end they trusted our vision and we created powder rooms that are extensions of the dream-like state of the rest of the space instead of just a series of water closets.

Sustainability

It may be surprising to note that although The Locksmith is unapologetically decadent, it's also highly self-sufficient.

Everything is made in-house - vinegars, charcuterie, butter, bread and smoked meats. The three level venue boasts a rooftop garden featuring approximately 100 garden beds, where herbs, vegetables and other produce is cared for by the chefs and kitchen team, while a team of gardeners maintain edible gardens across all floors. The rooftop garden houses compost bins, helping to turn food waste into fertiliser.

Anything that doesn’t come from the venue’s gardens is sourced locally from farms or from the surrounding region. The chefs delight in foraging in the mountains and bringing whatever they unearth back to The Locksmith to serve to diners.

They also utilise local goose farms, duck farms, water buffalo farms, camel and donkey farms and even wild produce which avoids the need to import goods from Australia or anywhere else.




Open to all international projects this award celebrates innovative and creative building interiors, with consideration given to space creation and planning, furnishings, finishes, aesthetic presentation and functionality. Consideration also given to space allocation, traffic flow, building services, lighting, fixtures, flooring, colours, furnishings and surface finishes.  


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