Met Centre, 273 George St, Sydney 2000
(02) 9241 5287 or madmex.com.au
Sydney’s McCartney Design has created a new store concept for Mad Mex, with the prototype being unveiled right in the CBD. Just as the menu is based on authentic Mexican street food, the design was inspired by Mexican street cafés and taquerias.
McCartney emphasised real and unsophisticated materials and theatrical signage to add the Mad to the Mex. In a small site in a busy mall thoroughfare it’s important to be noticed. The team incorporated a new format animated sign into the storefront to attract maximum attention from the lease line. They completed the branded environment with established Mad Mex elements like the Corona Chandelier and the Luchador mural.
50 Bunda St, Canberra 2601
(02) 6253 2091 or academyclub.com.au
Canberra’s largest nightclub, Academy, is now lit up with a new Robe moving light installation from locally-based Elite Sound & Light. It’s designed to provide the best lighting and visual experiences for EDM club nights and visiting live artists.
Elite’s Darren Russell was asked to propose a design, and his primary concern was to spec fixtures that would give the flexibility and variety of effects needed for long periods of operation, that would enable the club to have a completely different look and feel according to its programme that night.
Academy has an 800 capacity main room and a 150-capacity Candy Bar upstairs, which features a glass wall along one entire side. There is also a VIP section.
The Robe fixtures chosen are LEDWash 600s, DLS Spots and Pointes, all from the ROBIN series – eight of each. The new rig is three times the size of the previous lighting system, but consumes less than half the power. The lights are installed on the house trusses in the roof – giving positions over the stage and part of the dancefloor – positioned so that they can have the best effects throughout the space, with two of the DLSs rigged on a bulkhead over the bar.
The Athanaeum really is the ‘little theatre that could’. With an 800 capacity spread across three levels, it’s got that superb ‘close to the action’ atmosphere. Around four years ago it scored a post-GFC government stimulus grant to replace its seating and staging (hoists and pulleys), but that doesn’t detract from the Ath’s exciting old-school charm — unlike the bigger theatres, as soon as you walk in for a show you’re expecting something unexpected; something out of the ordinary.
NewActon Nishi, 25 Edinburgh Ave, Canberra
(02) 6287 6287 or www.hotel-hotel.com.au
Hotel Hotel sounds like it’s doubling down on stereotypes, but inside, it’s the complete opposite.
Story: Mark Davie
It may have a repetitive name, but Hotel Hotel is doing everything it can to <not> come off like a traditional hotel — starting with its size.
It occupies only the first three floors of one half of the Nishi building, which is situated at one end of the trendy NewActon precinct in Canberra. The Nishi building is the Molonglo Group’s flagship; part commercial, part residential with better energy credentials than Green Star can rate it. It even houses the wrapped-into-one Department of Climate Change, Environment, Industry, Science, Research… and whatever other innovations the government decides to shoehorn into its $150m lease. All of the floors above Hotel Hotel are residences, with the hotel managing 28 of them for longer stays. Every room in Nishi is different: Hotel Hotel itself has eight Cosy rooms; 43 standard rooms (which are still quite generous); 11 Creative rooms where everything gets upsized; and six top-flight Meandering rooms.
38 Gerrale St, Cronulla NSW
(02) 9523 6833 or www.cronullarsl.com.au
John Waters, CEO of Cronulla RSL, was presiding over a club that was ticking over unspectacularly. What has always been spectacular, is the view — panoramic vistas of the Pacific Ocean. Saying that, there was an elevated bowling green between the club and those million dollar views… not anymore.
When the bowling green had reached its useby date and the desire for generational change had gathered real momentum in the boardroom, the trigger was pulled: it was time to build over the green, and completely re-imagine the club’s F&B offering.
Susan Standring leads HASSELL’s international design practice’s hospitality sector.
I believe the secret to hospitality success lies in a venue’s ability to evoke a strong emotional response and develop a true sense of connection with its guests.
The world of hospitality is competitive. Thousands of new restaurants, hotels and bars open their doors each year and so too, many close. So what is the key to creating a thriving hospitality venue?
Treasury Casino and Hotel, Queen St Mall, Brisbane
(07) 3306 8888 or treasurybrisbane.com.au
LiveWire Bar is back, with the help of Jbn Sound Ceiling.
The bar, in the heart of the Treasury Casino, has been an integral part of the entertainment offered there for many years. It was seen as a great destination to enjoy a drink and listen to a band any night of the week.
However, having live bands performing in the middle of the Casino can create problems such as loud music blasting through into the main gaming areas, disturbing punters at electronic gaming machines and gaming tables. Bass sound could also travel up into the Casino’s hotel rooms disrupting guests sleeping, hence noise complaints.
So management decided to replace the LiveWire bar band area with a new gaming area. The effect was the loss of some patrons. The solution was to bring the LiveWire bar back and actively seek ways to limit the noise issues associated with live bands and music blasting through the gaming areas and the exclusive accommodation above.
Mr Big Stuff
16 Meyers Place, Melbourne 3000
(03) 9639 7411 or www.mrbigstuff.com.au
Mr Big Stuff, the new restaurant and bar located in Meyers Place, shares its name with the iconic song from the 1970’s, which sets the tone for both the food offering and the space itself.
The concept was born from a few friends sharing some drinks and conservation about their common love of American culture and hip-hop. The five boys decided that what the Melbourne food scene was missing was some serious food for the soul.
Mr Big Stuff takes a unique approach to Southern American soul food and brings it to the Melbourne market. To match, the space got a complete overhaul by Techne Architecture + Interior Design. The new design pays homage to the owners concept, naturally inspired by American music and film culture from funk to old school hip-hop, which was re-interpreted in a contemporary way that is relevant to Melbourne.
“Like all our projects, this project is defined by the unique collaboration between us, the clients and the graphic designers,” says Techne’s Nick Travers. “It responds to the brief where the clients were looking for a ‘Melbourne’ version of Southern Amercian soul food blended with particular music and film references.”
85-87 N Quay, Brisbane 4000
(07) 3237 2300 or mercurebrisbane.com.au
Mercure has commenced the roll-out of its new interactive lobby concept in Australia, launching the new-look reception space at the riverside Mercure Brisbane.
The Mercure in Brisbane is the first in Australia to implement the new concept, originally piloted at the Mercure Tower Bridge in London in April 2013.
Coming just a few months after Mercure Brisbane’s multimillion dollar room refurbishment, the latest reveal for the hotel has modernistic pops of pink, and sophisticated new furniture and finishes for a fresh sense of arrival.
A key feature for the new space is a free-form host pod in place of a traditional front desk that allows for a more seamless interplay between associates and guests.
347 Kent St, Sydney
(02) 9299 4877 or mrtipplys.com
Spilt across two levels, Mr Tipply’s is a bar and casual eatery, residing at the former City Hotel site on the corner of Kent and King. Inspired by the exotic adventures of the man himself, Sydney interior designer Tamsin Johnson has created a luxurious yet approachable setting. An eclectic colour pallet combined with rich fabrics and African wallpapers give the space a sense of warmth while the spatial planning redefines traditional seating groups to create a relaxed yet sophisticated experience for professionals – and destination drinkers too.
Mr Tipply’s encourages a selection of different offerings from bar and cocktail table service through to casual communal tables and group venue bookings. But it’s just the beginning, with the more refined and intimate Level 1 bar set to be unveiled at the grand opening in late July.