Popular culture meets Mex in this new south-of-the-border eatery in Melbourne’s CBD.
May 22nd, 2012
Touche Hombre continues Australia’s love affair with Mexican eateries, inspired by the Mexican street food scene of Los Angeles but with a decidedly more Melbourne vibe.
The brainchild of creative studio Maison Davis, the former Japanese restaurant was stripped back to its shell to create a rough, raw aesthetic.
From there, the design team worked on “adding different layers… focusing on small elements and details that popped out,” says Davis Yu, Creative Director of Maison Davis.
“We worked on a lot of custom neons that we designed ourselves with a Sydney designer… We wanted something that was quite different, a bit quirkier.”
The restaurant’s branding was inspired by the work of Jean Michel Basquiat; nods to Street Fighter and Ghostbusters and A Tribe Called Quest lyrics scrawled onto the walls show the design team’s love of American pop culture.
Customised furniture and light fittings add to the eclecticism of the space. Recycled wood sourced from the old Princess Pier was used for the tables; antique filament lightbulbs provide illumination.
The aim of the design was to create an experience for the visitor that was full of surprises.
“Our bathroom corridors are lit completely red; the bathroom door is [covered with] our own printed wall paper, and the idea is that you walk through this false wall and get hit by a really red Bordeaux atmosphere.
“It’s important that with everything we do it’s about provoking some sort of emotional experience – when you walk in there, it’s gotta change the way you feel; it has to create an effect and have some sort of impact.”
Packed with personality, Touche Hombre is a good insight into how Maison Davis work and where their inspiration comes from.
“It always comes back to culture and music,” says Yu of the studio’s projects, which also include Claremont Tonic and the Millswyn, both collaborations with Hecker Guthrie.
“The first thing is the cultural side of what we try to achieve, and then the music comes into it and once the music happens the design sort of falls into place.”
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