Charred Refinement - arkhé by studio gram
Celebrating the smoky, darkened charring of food cooked over fire, arkhé is a bold new offering. Creating a truly immersive experience, studio gram worked closely with partners Jake Kellie and Marty Palmer to engage the senses from every direction.
Sitting amongst an array of European and Asian food and beverage offerings, arkhé was always envisioned as an outlier. The new restaurant, bar and outdoor dining take over as the latest occupier of what was originally designed as the Grace Establishment by Hecker Guthrie, in Norwood. Over the years, the site has taken on many forms, and finally it feels like the latest iteration will endure.
Fire has sustained us for millennia. Evoking the primal nature of cooking over fire, arkhé embodies both rawness and refinement. The grill is given centre stage as it rouses the open kitchen and bar area, filling the air with its crackle and the light scent of wood smoke. Bar seating encircles the preparation space as a front row to the process while white booths line up along the main wall. The principal dining and outdoor space are more traditional in seating, with flexible furniture to accommodate fluctuations.
Following the story of fire, the materials have each been selected to express the effects of the heat source. In articulating the honesty of the materials, a textural delight awaits. The timber elements have been hand-charred using the Japanese shou sugi ban technique, with textural and pigment tinted plaster walls reminiscent of the ashes that linger. Leather, timber and stone complete the picture of rawness, adding a masculine edge. The three distinct zones all then offer differing experiences and a differing engagement of the senses once within them.
As with all of studio gram’s projects – of which there are many dotted around Adelaide – engagement with local makers and craftspeople further embeds the space within its location. arkhé acts as a departure from the studio’s previous work by exploring in more depth the narrative of process and how that can become integrated into the interior design.
The result is a welcomed elevation of the site – a distinctive offering where the experience of the space enhances the experience of the food being served. Elemental yet refined, it provides a primal, sensory journey.