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Kicking goals: A contemporary sports bar by Zwei Architecture

KICKS Sports Bar swaps sporting jerseys for sporting references with a design inspired by athletic arenas and sporting equipment

Engaged to design a new sports bar in Melbourne, Zwei Architecture viewed the interior environment as “an empty playing field, waiting for the action to begin,” says Katherine Kemp. The client – a keen soccer fan – wanted to do away with the cliché tropes of classic sports bars, preferring a contemporary interpretation to provide a welcoming space for local students to hang out. “KICKS Sports Bar is a celebration of all things sport, but also an arena of its own,” Katherine says.

The design team used forms and materials that reference athletic arenas and sporting equipment. Grid mesh screens evoke netting; steel piping is suggestive of goals and stadium elements, and perforated metal and vinyl flooring are robust and durable. Tubular piping continues in the foot stands and furniture and the shelving behind the bars.

Zwei Architecture treated the main bar as the “players’ room” within a sporting arena. “There is a classic image of Manchester United in the players’ steam bath after a game and the floor, walls and bath are all tiled,” says Katherine. “We referenced this idea for the bar as the point where everyone comes together and bonds.” The bar and back wall are clad in tiles with coloured grout for definition (black on the bar, yellow on the wall).

A variety of relaxed and casual seating areas allow patrons to gather in booths and around tables and bars. Pool tables and Atari tabletop games activate small nooks; the kitchen and restaurant seating is situated deeper in the space as a quieter zone; and a sliding door can close off the rear bar for private events. Tan leather upholstery and OSB wall panels bring texture and warmth to the harder surfaces, and bright red elements inject vibrancy. Red also features in the bathrooms, which reference locker rooms in material and colour selections.

Zwei collaborated with communications designer Sally Piskuric, who did the branding and identity – the bright colour palette, computer-game-inspired typography and grid-like forms complementing the interior space. They also worked with Lighting Spaces for custom decorative lighting, and Premier Graphics for the red and blue neon KICKS lights. “We loved the blurred colour that neon throws into a space and wanted that to be a key part of the scheme,” says Katherine.

And like all good sports teams, the success of the design came down to teamwork. “It really was a collaboration between a client willing to take risks, an incredible builder who delivered an exceptional result and amazing partnership with Sally Piskuric and Lighting Spaces,” says Katherine.

Photography by Damien Kook.

Take a look at some other projects by Zwei.

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