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From languor to liveliness: The remodel of Johnny’s Green Room

From a lacklustre venue to an ebullient hotspot, Johnny’s Green Room in Carlton has been transformed under the direction of Dion Hall, featuring warm tones and terracotta accents.

From languor to liveliness: The remodel of Johnny’s Green Room

The redesign of Johnny’s Green Room in Carlton comes from the curatorial designers behind Supernormal and HER Bar.  Flanked on the corner of Lygon and Faraday Streets, the beloved yet listless venue has been converted by Dion Hall into a Tuscan-inspired rooftop bar framing panoramic views of the city skyline. Owners Jamie Valmorbida and Luca Sbardella coalesced the renowned design studio with local builders DIMPAT to create a dream team, that was able to convert this once languorous venue into a convivial hotspot.

“Jamie and Luca had a vision for a warmer and more inviting venue, desiring undertones of Italian nuances,” says Dion Hall. “We drew from memories of Italy and explored humble and timeless materials.” The colour and material palette at Johnny’s Green Room delves into warm tones, with notable materials including terracotta and mosaic tiles, that are a nod to the surrounding landscape; the terracotta rooftops that populate the suburb influenced the lacquering of the statement kitchen and reflect important punctuations of history. Inspired by a rooftop attic, a Douglas Fir recycled timber-lined ceiling is supported by multiple mosaic tiles and a milled zinc bar top that wraps around each column.

An oeuvre of bespoke furnishings and design details were commissioned from the likes of Westwood, Hugh Makin, Us from Space and Szilvassy to reflect Dion Hall’s desired vision and align with the client’s Italian-infused design brief. Fully-grown olive trees were sourced from Mornington Peninsula’s Garden Grown Trees to further enhance the Tuscan terrace aesthetic, and in the restrooms, a line-up of custom terracotta basins was made with Artedomus and Italian terracotta manufacturer Cotto Manetti. Camm Upholstery adorns the furnishings, with the cushion covers perched on the rust-red bench seats and sage green round-top stools.

The lighting and custom-moving neon sign nodding to a partnership with Campari is a showstopper. Hall continues: “This [light installation] enables the northern elevation – possibly the least dynamic, to form an important addition to the guest experience. A neon colourway provides a warm, rich light source for addressing cooler evenings.” The sensory of the space continues with Dion outsourcing sound designer Mickey Levis behind the Music Room to assist with the sound system, incorporating a state-of-the-art KV2 Audio sound system that will provide listeners with a tailored sound experience, perfect for the frequently hosted and anticipated summer parties.

Related: Another Tuscan-inspired venue, this time in Sydney

The overall image of the venue has been remodelled with local branding studio, Projects of Imagination, who were outsourced and commissioned to refresh and introduce an elevated and classic Italian design language behind the graphics. A secondary logo was developed to complement the original Johnny’s wolf symbol, which has been repurposed as a more nostalgic icon. And custom white waiter jackets have been designed for the bar staff to refine the venue.

Dion Hall

Arianna Leggiero

Next up: ‘Work hard, play hard’ at Centara Grand in Osaka

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