An enclave awaiting discovery, Byrdi is an unexpected insertion in its inner-city Melbourne mall setting. DesignOffice brings together local makers and sourced materials create a rare immersive experience.
Nestled into the inner-city Melbourne Central retail hub, Byrdi sits unassuming and as a place of intrigue amongst the hive of activity in its commercial surrounds. Expressing itself through contrast and a play on enhanced texture and materiality, the space is an invitation to discover the offering and its contents. Providing a welcomed break from its context, the space is deliberately emotive, drawing on sensory cues to engage patrons and ensure the focus of the space is the food and cocktail menu, including locally sourced ingredients and produce. Each element has been chosen from its elemental quality and an honest rawness is expressed within the space. Design Office combines a focus on the tactile and emotive, conjuring the atmospheric through a restrained lens.
Built by Hunter Projects, Byrdi draws on the wealth and diversity of hospitality offerings within Melbourne city and the many means by which the narrow laneways are used and articulated to navigate the non-conventional space. Within the retail precinct it is inserted, the envelope provided a number of challenges and an organic approach was the most befitting solution. The aim of the space is to transport visitors to another place, beyond the retail and commerce surrounds.
The contrast lies in the way in which the space offers a respite from the bustling inner-city surrounds. This is then emphasised through muted lighting and a darkened, engaging experience. The focus is firmly local – each element is made from local materials and by local craftspeople, to reduce the overall impacted footprint. Leather is sourced from nearby Geelong, with terracotta tiles made also in Victoria, while Australian timber species add warmth and a natural texture and custom seating, and joinery firmly embeds the tenancy in place. The unique space is experimental and plays out in a something of a laboratory setting, with mixologists demonstrating techniques in a showcased manner, adding an animated element of intrigue for passers-by. Free-flowing shapes then carve out the seating spaces, highlighted through select lighting and textures, while the main bar responds as its own organic iteration.
Byrdi uses a mix of interesting gestures and insertions to create a destination within an unexpected setting, seeing DesignOffice curate a less-than-conventional hospitality experience, anchored and conceived from a considered and experimental methodology.