Barangaroo, NSW, Australia
From The Designer
Ume offers a uniquely Japanese-inspired burger, inviting the customer to play a part in their own story. Self-serve matcha flavoured ice cream, vending machines serving authentic Japanese soda and a playful 3D paper menu, make this place seriously, kookily ‘Japanese’. Brief: Deliver a design experience to match the product.
In the high pressure world of hospitality, we have designed a restaurant that privileges the workers over the customers. This shift and refocus on the ‘makers’ informed all decisions on spatial planning, design and materiality strategy. The scullery, located behind a magnificent glass façade, provides kitchen staff, a calming experience in an otherwise pragmatic situation. The dishwasher is literally bathed in amber afternoon light and chefs have the best view in the house, over a shorter than normal tiled splashback to the water.
As well as a great customer experience, our client wanted every staff member to enjoy the water views while working, ruling out a stereotypical cook line set up, so we centrally located all the stoves and operational equipment. The over-sized hood is disguised under a concrete look alike ‘render rock’ treatment.
The 4.2m tall shop front artfully plays with proportion, perfection and imperfection: a series of glass, volcanic rock and steel rectangles, long and tall provide a unique patchwork, with pitted, volcanic rock cladding the split façade and framing the service counter. Adjacent, a stack of sleek amber glass blocks serves as the entry into the scullery and operational areas. A brass window gives a key hole glimpse into the scullery, and serves as a dirty dish drop off. Playful accents include a blue vending machine and a custom mobile cart with exaggerated circular forms as wheels and custom external seating. Custom stained orange and blue table tops, are mixed with custom benches sporting precast concrete bases, timber dowel detailing and diamond-stitched denim upholstery.
You can order one of five signature burger fillings, represented by handmade three dimensional paper icons above the bench. Menus, printed onto drops of linen, providing an easy replacement when menus vary. A wall of fridges powdercoated a sage green with custom handles.