As a new cohort/era of soaring high rise developments surface in Sydney and Melbourne — loopcreative is designing authentic hospitality and retail spaces with emphasis on experience and longevity.
February 1st, 2017
While they’ve worked on spaces within Sydney’s Central Park and Barangaroo, amongst loopcreative’s most recently completed restaurant projects is Long Shot. Here, the Sydney based practice has reimagined a Melbourne CBD espresso bar as more than just a fleeting morning pit stop at the foothold of a sky-high office block.
Long Shot is located within stage two of Melbourne’s Collins Square development, and is the fourth new venue to emerge in its foyer space. The entire commercial development is the country’s second largest, and is made up of six shimmering mirrored towers individually designed by firms Bates Smart, Hassell and Woods Bagot. Collins Square promises to ‘redefine the Australian workplace’ — but for director of loopcreative Rod Faucheux, it’s good design at the smaller, human scale that is at the very heart of authentic place making.
“The original concept for Long Shot was probably a little faddish in terms of the way it looked,” explains Faucheux. “The developer in this case wanted to create something a little bit more classic. Something that might last for a longer period than just five years, which a lot of trend-based hospitality design can do.”
To match Collins Square’s incoming corporate community, loopcreative lifted Long Shot’s existing concept, and expanded it into a new 250sqm space. Divided into three main areas, Long Shot can now cater to corporates who want to escape the office for a moment, run an informal catch up, or linger for long lunches. Within the new café space is a formal 60-seat restaurant, an open kitchen with room for lunch at the counter, as well as a patisserie and espresso bar for faster takeaway meals.
To create a new and enhanced sense of sophistication, Faucheaux drew in classic materials and a rich, dark colour palette. Custom designed oak timber tables have been matched with custom black leather dining chairs, an imported Italian marble countertop, and lighting from Cattelan Italia and Euroluce. “We’ve also designed a triangular articulated ceiling for the space,” adds Faucheaux. “This helps with acoustics and gives it a really nice sound quality while you are in there.” The café’s stone floor has been rendered in an oversize chequerboard pattern, underscoring its overall European tone.
For Faucheaux, it’s these finer design details that make for a stronger sense of place and connection within towering new vertical precincts. “I think it’s really important that the design is considered. If it is really authentic, then we as customers and consumers recognise that and want to return,” he says. “Good developers are hearing what people are wanting, and our responsibility as designers is to provide something which is authentic and terrific — a genuine experience.”
And within Melbourne’s saturated café and coffee scene, that experience naturally needs to include utterly perfected espresso. “[Long Shot] uses St Ali coffee,” says Faucheaux. “While the interior may have a slightly corporate overtone, the hospitality keeps it as cool and as contemporary as any Fitzroy café.”
As for the importance of more authentic spaces in Sydney and Melbourne’s new metropolis-like developments, Faucheaux highlights the difference designing in either of the two cities. “I think it’s unfair for people to say Melbourne design is cooler, when the commercial rent is different, and the pressures on our clients are quite different,” he says. “In Melbourne the rent is cheaper and there’s a lot more room for small bars, and more room for expressive design there as a result. You can’t make mistakes or get it wrong in Sydney otherwise people will go out of business. More progressive developers are probably subsidising the cost within Sydney projects to ensure they get that diversity and variety, and we’ve seen that happen to an extent at Spice Alley at Central Park.”
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