2017 Sydney 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

Image Credit : Murray Fredericks


Project Overview

The intention was to set The Urban Artisans apart from the grain of the busy Liverpool Street Asian eateries or the in-mall experience by drawing on a garden room metaphor to create a space that feels more like an extension of the family kitchen rather than your usual cafeteria. More like the sun rooms of the many Federation cottages typical of the Inner West of Sydney.

Project Commissioner

The Urban Artisans

Project Creator

Zanazan Architecture Studio


Shahe Simonian
Roupinah Simonian
Philipp Barnstorf
Alex Ng
Wissam Shedid

Project Brief

Originally located on the site of a grove of large fig trees, demolished by the shopping centre to create a more open entry sequence to the mall, this venue aims to reference this lost forest with a new garden for local residents. We were tasked to create a venue that drew patrons away from the bustle of the high street into an intimate, comfortable, and at once familiar place. A dining venue that would appeal to abroad demographic eager to return.

Project Innovation/Need

Drawing inspiration from the Crystal Palace, the curved glazing, the 3 tonne Monstera delicious planter that miraculously floats above diners and the arrangement of different seating choices (round intimate tables, long banquet seating and outdoor garden tables) provides a variety of experiences for diners. The terracotta ‘carpet’ inlay not only reflects the tone of the timber ceilings, but references the old glass house floors of a bygone era. This also forms the central piece that defines an open space that can be used for functions. The deck is an extension of the internal greenhouse - emphasised by the window seat and operable glazing. The window bar seats, on wheels, can be arranged in different ways providing flexible solutions for functions. The block work, in concert with the timber ceiling, refract sound to subdue the acoustics, but also shelters the pavilion from the western sun.

The spaces have been designed so that dine-in can operate independent of take-away. The kitchen has direct external access without disrupting service with delivery or waste removal.The design maximises the light and space creating a pleasant comfortable indoor (and outdoor) space on the edge of busy Liverpool Road.

The venue's pursuit of honest food and ingredients is reflected in our the pursuit of honest materials and attention to detail. The alignment of the elements that make up the fit-out, from divisions in the wall and glazing panels to the size and location of timber elements are all purposefully made.

Design Challenge

We were tasked to complete this project in under 10 weeks over arguably the most challenging time (Christmas). To ensure we were able to hand over to our clients in this timeframe, we made the critical decision to carry out the shop fit-out ourselves. This was achieved through the close collaboration of the design team and the many talented Artisans who crafted the elements that made the interior space sing.

With a number of underground utility services, like the large by Telstra pit directly under the tenancy. The design required a specific response, to enable practical access to the pit while visually managing the scale of the spatial requirements to do so. This defined the size of both the kitchen and the internal seating area. The ‘Juice-Bar/takeaway’ needed to be a completely mobile assembly, which could be moved in under 10 minutes and re-configured as a series of carts in the courtyard to continue service during Telstra maintenance so as not to impact trade.


The exposed timber is sourced from old housing stock: Oregon, beautifully fragrant and deeply figured timber, concealed within the many Federation roofs of the inner west was brought to life. The Oregon was de-nailed, machined and dressed as a new and decorative roof of the main dining room, suspended bar shelves and juice bar. The arrangement was structured around the steel beams supporting the main roof and pavilion.

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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