Figureground Architecture

Mr Joe

Burnley, VIC, Australia

James Lyall Smith

Architects
Project Type
  • Commercial Hospitality
Location
  • Burnley, VIC, Australia
Lead Architect
  • Matt Rawlins
Area
  • 190m2
Project Year
  • 2018
Photographer
  • Ari Hatzis
Project Team
  • Kate Crosby
Builder
  • Humecon Pty. Ltd.
Surveyors
  • Metro Building Surveyors
Location
  • Burnley, VIC, Australia

Figureground Architecture prove that designing a modern Japanese restaurant can be done without the standard kitsch representations commonly associated with Japanese culture.

The brief was to create a space that would complement the contemporary Japanese fusion menu. Whilst the team at Figureground Architecture wanted the restaurant to feel ‘Japanese’, it was important to them that the references should be indirect and contemporary rather than simplistic kitsch representations.

The design brief given to Figureground was to create a space that would complement the contemporary Japanese fusion menu.

The budget was relatively low, so the concept had to be robust, efficient and most importantly, cost effective. The architects chose to define the main dining area by creating a long service ‘pod’ which would provide the restaurant with a focus and also neatly conceal the preparation, cooking, washing and amenities beyond. The primary materiality is a pale plywood, referencing the pine species which is typically used in Japanese construction. This language is further reinforced throughout the restaurant furniture, and utilises a thick style of edge detailing, recalling the techniques of traditional Japanese solid timber furniture making.

The architectural concept had to be robust, efficient and most importantly, cost effective.

The existing ceiling was low and contained a tangled mess of piping from the apartments above. Matt Rawlins and Kate Crosby addressed this visual distraction by suspending a layer of steel reinforcement mesh by which they could attach lighting and curtain tracks. A datum of blue has been applied across the ceiling, creating a bold and contrasting colour theme that draws from the traditional hues evident in Japanese arts and furnishings.

A striking datum of blue has been applied across the ceiling, creating a bold and contrasting colour theme that captivates patrons.

The seating opportunities are varied, with a low communal table, bar stools, separate round tables and a more intimate niche built in to the plywood joinery pod. A long row of casual bench seats along the wall are informally divided by curtains, allowing greater privacy to private groups if required.

Contemporary Japanese design without the usual kitsch elements associated with Japanese culture.

Crafted, mosaic-tiled columns evoke traditional Japanese pottery and create a contrasting foreground to the rough cement rendered walls beyond. The minimalist, black circular wall lights are the final nod to the land of the rising sun.

The minimalist, black circular wall lights installed by Figureground Architects are the final nod to the land of the rising sun.

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Ari Hatzis

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