It’s not easy designing new hospitality venues, but entrepreneur Paul Schell already has Ruby Rabbit, Big Rig Diner and De Nom notched up on his belt. Nicky Lobo gets the word on his latest venture… AND nightclub/bar, which recently opened at the Eastern Hotel.
July 16th, 2012
What was the brief/ approach for the design of AND?
The Brief was to create an entire new identity for the property, a former nightclub space. There were some key constraints: a moderate budget and a need to address acoustic into the surrounding environment.
AND’s design was to challenge consumers’ expectations of a nightclub, blurring the lines between venue and large format, interactive art installation. The space was to engage patrons at all time with its tactility, inviting them to touch and play with the built environment. As such, almost every detail in the property is bespoke. When a limited budget is in play, ingenuity and creative use of materials is the order of the day.
Big Rig Diner
How does the design of the venues you’ve worked on represent the particular brand and appeal to a particular audience?
Complete authorship and a high level of consistency [are important] – from design, product offering, name, identity and marketing.
Each project needs to be relevant to the time and place that we are in, especially economically. For example, when I did De Nom in Sydney (in 18th Century French Salon style), it was pre-GFC, it was ok in people’s eyes to be ostentatious with a fit-out so over-the-top and opulent. At the moment, such design could be considered in poor taste.
What makes a successful bar/club/restaurant interior?
An entertainment property must do just that… Entertain. People get enough of real life at home or in their day-to-day lives. A good bar, restaurant or club, must have a sense of wonder and a spirit of adventure to deliver people more than real life.
How does your background/experience give you an edge when working on new venues such as AND?
I never approach an entertainment space as a designer first and consumer second; it’s always visa versa. If I work on a concept and then go ” I would love to see that” then we go for it, designing backwards from there. My job is to imagine first and then worry about how the hell we make it happen.
Big Rig Diner
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