Melding art deco, futurism and turn-of-the-century industrialism, Bar Ampere is a whimsical new addition to Melbourne’s bar scene.
January 10th, 2012
Situated above Melbourne’s ancient but still operational Russell Place Substation, Bar Ampere takes its cues as much from its location – or rather, its underground – as from Parisian café culture.
The al fresco area, with its high white arches, resembles a typical European-style café. Inside is a tribute to machinery of the mid and turn-of-the-19th century machinery, an homage to the energy of the futurist movement.
Architects and interior design consultants Donna Brzezinski and Greg Buhagiar of BG Architecture worked with venue owner Vernon Chalker and Michael Anderson of Skidmark Designs to create the design.
Old meets new throughout the interior. The main bar is backed by a feature wall of bottle ends set within a steel frame, grouted into place and back-lit with LED lighting. Overhead hangs a custom ’Sputnik’ light feature, made of an antique hairdressing heat lamp and 2 reproduction mid-century Sputnik light fittings, joined so that the fittings appear to be crashing into each other.
Custom badges resembling those seen on old electrical machinery of the era reference the substation underfoot. An antique circuit board is a standout feature of the space.
Concrete walls with original graffiti intact serve as a reminder that they were once exposed to the elements.
Furniture continues the old-meets-new motif. Wooden tables with an aluminium trim are teamed with Warren McArthur-designed ex-military aluminium chairs mass-produced during the Second World War.
Attention to detail and a plethora of custom or specially-sourced objects and finishes create a loving homage to a bygone era.
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