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How The Milton bar and restaurant responds to its Elwood demographic

Melbourne’s reputation as a restaurant, bar and café mecca often means, the food and beverage fare and the audience each venue attracts, differs completely from one city laneway, inner urban village or shopping strip to the next. What has the Milton done? Words by Marg Hearn.

How The Milton bar and restaurant responds to its Elwood demographic


May 20th, 2015


Jean-Pierre Biasol founder of Biasol: Design Studio, says hospitality design and its offer must be responsive to the idiosyncratic clientele requirements in any given locale, yet have the flexibility and timelessness to adapt as needed.


The Milton in inner Melbourne bayside suburb Elwood, completed by the studio in March 2015, nails that for its local community-minded and design aware demographic. Biasol had delivered family friendly establishment Jimmi Jamz, for the same client, immediately next door. In fact, its local patrons helped pinpoint the sort of venue that “Elwood needed” The Milton to be. A quality akin to “the refinement of an up-market restaurant but with a more understated urban feel” in its carriage, is omnipresent in The Milton’s wine bar and complementary food offer.

“hospitality design and its offer must be responsive to the idiosyncratic clientele requirements in any given locale, yet have the flexibility and timelessness to adapt as needed”


Retention of the building’s front façade and restoration of the internal original brick walls evokes a sense of “familiarity” for the locals. And while the timber clad, visually impactful extension intends to take patrons on a journey, its pitched roof and fireplace, could just as well be a new addition to an Elwood living room, says Biasol.


The spatial arrangement is cognisant of how locals might engage with the space yet inherently flexible to cater for the differing usage patterns of weekday and weekend trading. For example, bar stools along the 7.5m bar can be removed for busier Friday and Saturday evening bar trading, and returned to keep things cosy during quieter times. And should the locals opt for the wine or food offer more or less, the solution allows for the amping up or paring back of one or the other.


Bespoke wall and pendant lighting is designed and crafted locally by Biasol: Design Studio and positioned to balance “focusing on the detail while giving enough light at the right height and where its needed,” Biasol says. An LED strip running under the dropped bar bench is one such treatment used to accentuate the imperfection of the handmade concrete tiles, whereas wall lights punctuating the brick wall, instill “a sense of intimacy.”


The Milton poetically combines “old and new elements, organic and manufactured materials, hard and soft textures” in a timeless way. It’s an approach that’s mindful of maximising a venue’s longevity for the client. Biasol believes the project’s call-up of the studio’s full-service multi-disciplines, and end-to-end involvement in interior, building, product and branding, where designer meets maker, shaped a hospitality venue and customer experience that “feels resolved.”

Project team:
Photographer: Ari Hatzis
Project name: The Milton
Design studio: Biasol: Design Studio
Project category: Hospitality – Bar/Restaurant
Builder: RCON Shopfitters
Completed: March 2015
Location: Elwood, Melbourne, Australia
Project size: 190sqm

Reclaimed Australian timbers Ceilings and Floors; Stripped back red brick walls; Victorian Ash Cladding; Concrete; Black steel; Brass; Carrera Marble; Concrete tiles – Bespoke tile & stone; Green leathers – Pelle Leathers.

Custom Crafted Bar Pendants lights – Biasol: Design Studio
Custom Crafted Wall lights – Biasol: Design Studio 
Light Bulbs – Edison Light Globe 
Desk Lamps – Fat Shack Vintage 

Industrial Swivel Chair – Rustix
Table bases – James Richardson Corp. 
Custom Crafted Drinks Tables – Biasol: Design Studio
Upholstery – The Seatery

Biasol: Design Studio

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