Bondi, NSW, Australia
Fonda Bondi by Studio Esteta is an interior hospitality project in which the studio was tasked with designing a contemporary Mexican restaurant in the beach side Sydney suburb.
The first national store for the Melbourne based eatery, Fonda Bondi presents a design approach that reflects the fun, bright and youthful personality of the brand in a refined and unpretentious resolution. The brief sought to create a relaxed and paired back Mexican eatery to revitalise the existing run down hospitality venue. Fitting comfortably within its buzzing beachside surrounds of Hall Street, Fonda Bondi, with its Mexican essence and coastal accents envelopes patrons in an atmosphere that perfectly balances the honest nostalgia of home with the sensory expectations of a buzzing Mexican eatery.
Drawing on the traditional Mexican ‘Fonda’; a home that opens its doors to the local community as a restaurant, Fonda Bondi’s interior evokes a sentimentality reminiscent of dining in a Mexican home, complete with a spatial layout that inspires narrative and a prolific use of native colours. The casual and warm approach was also driven by the brands’ motto ‘mi casa, su casa’, which further inspired the use of raw, honest and humble materials including textured wall renders, woven screens and warm timbers.
The works of architect Luis Barragan were a key point of inspiration for his use of texture, bold colour, and simple, yet striking forms, which have been adopted throughout. The simplicity of traditional solid forms is celebrated throughout the space, and in contrast are softened through the use of architectural arches, curves and material considerations. Architectural curves to the ceiling and the specific use of powder blue shades reflect the coastal context of Bondi. The textured wall treatment is softened by warm ambient light emitted from custom wall sconces which sit above semi-private booths, working to further evoke the notion of home and dining with family and friends.
The layout enables a fluid and seamless spatial flow for staff and patrons. The patron is taken on a journey through the space, from the buzzing ‘bar’ at the front of the restaurant which speaks to the busy Hall street, through to the intimate booth seating in the middle of the space, and finally to the rear ‘sanctuary’, a luxurious banquette surrounded by vegetation. The Centerpiece of the space becomes the communal Terrazzo table, certain by its weight and surrounded by simple woven lights hanging lightly above.
The design response by Studio Esteta reflects a holistic approach to the overall design aesthetic as well as a deep understanding of the programmatic and functional requirements of the brief. A deep conceptual & site analysis has provided for a design response that celebrates the existing site, its context and functionality, and the evolving brand for which it has been designed. Staff and patrons are able to exist harmoniously. Staff can be efficient in their workflow and service whilst patrons dine in comfort, immersed in the refined Bondi Mexican eatery. The design is therefore successful as through the adaptive re-use of the existing building, the design integrates with and enhances its surrounding environment and community.
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