New York design firm AvroKO has inverted the steakhouse formula to create an contemporary, urban space inspired by the butcher’s shop rather than the old-fashioned saloon. Lightbulbs hang from antique meat hooks and cleavers decorate the walls, creating a strong conceptual link between the meals and their origins. The colours are subdued, setting off the arrangements of bright green grass on each table, while textured finishes and oblique lighting adds depth and an underground edge to the space.

photos: AvroKO


The romanticism of coffee machines inspired Haldane Martin’s design for Truth Coffee in Cape Town. With the building stripped back to its essential structure and the grand machinery of a vintage coffee roaster as its centrepiece, the space perfectly pairs the steampunk aesthetic with modern industrial style. Details such as the interconnected metal pipes between tables and stools and the pressed metal panels complement the bold colour palette of red and olive. See more images at Haldane Martin.

The Paper Art Garden by Super Nature Design uses concentric circles of CNC die cut paper to frame a white orchid at its centre. The geometric patterns create depth of field and an increase in density that both masks and focalises the plant. The cut-outs also allow for expansion of the garden through the intricate shadows they cast outwards. See more at designboom.

Also using screening as a means of both dividing a space and directing attention is I M Lab’s NYU’ Restaurant in Oderzo, Italy. Laser cut metal panels to the ceiling are moveable to delineate different paths and areas within the restaurant, while the perforations vary in size, the biggest apertures drawing the diner’s eye to the pre-existing Roman archeological features of the building. This duality of concealing and revealing brings drama and intrigue to the space.

The Prahran Hotel has been given a stunning update with Techne Architects‘ creative use of concrete pipes as intimate spaces for patrons. Visible from inside and out, the cylindrical shape mirrors the 1940s art-deco style of the original building and is also reminiscent of kegs. With tones of bright green, dark leather and wood, interior designer Bianca Baldi has harmoniously integrated the new space with the original hotel. The most striking feature is the second level of seating looking out over the elevated garden that runs the length of the addition, creating a feeling of height and space that is rare in the pub scene.

all photos: Peter Clarke

Seeing double in Richmond’s interiors for the Kaspia restaurant at Four Seasons Baku and the 3.1 Phillip Lim looks on the NYFW runway this week. The bespoke ‘stalactite’ lighting, sculpturally curved walls and glossy black tables perfectly mirror Lim’s geology-inspired collection of embroidered organza, coloured leathers and iridescent finishes.

Barcelona’s Ikibana, designed by El Equipo Creativo, reflects the paradox of its Japanese/Brazilian fusion cuisine. Fluid, dynamic and dramatic, the contours of the design create small islands of seating while the wooden panels extend from the seating and weave into the ceiling. The robust, sensuous connotations of Brazil are mixed with the refinement and minimalism of traditional Japanese art – the geometric tessellating tables bring muted tropical colours into the space, while the gardens set behind glass panels are a natural element that complements the artificial ‘forest’ of the woven ceiling. The standout feature for me is the wispy, angular light fittings which float over the bar like dandelion clocks.

More photos and floor plans available at The Contemporist.

Lush wildflower fields clash with eerily symmetrical architectural prints in Mary Katrantzou’s Resort 2014 collection. Where fashion is serving us such a monochromatic palette these couple of seasons it’s refreshing to see such an intense extravaganza of colour. Enjoy the whole collection on

Also playing on the contrast between architecture and nature is the collaboration of Eden Floral Design and Becasse, where sprawling vines take over stark traditional interiors. It’s interesting that the introduction of uncontrolled nature in a formal space creates either a sense of restfulness or tension, it brings dynamism and life to a static environment. More photos at Pulch Photography.

This place makes walking the fine line between nostalgia and modernity look effortless. Shortlisted for this year’s Restaurant and Bar Design Awards, the Marylebone location is the perfect mix of Spanish traditional design with a spaciousness that makes it seem both established and contemporary. Eclectic collections of ceramics and books line the walls of the smaller rooms, while sunlight from the floor-to-ceiling windows in the main bar area reflects off patterned tiles. Barcelona-based Lázaro Rosa-Violán’s other projects can be seen here, many of which are becoming my favourite spaces with their filmic quality and retro detailing.

photos: iberica food & culture ltd.

The gorgeous extension of the Lisbon aquarium by Campos Costa Arquitectos involves 5000 ceramic scale-shaped tiles, creating subtle, beautiful textures that work with the existing heritage structure. Situated next to a public water feature, the design plays with marine themes without being kitsch to create a valuable public space. See more photos and plans at Designboom.

photo: radek brunecky

photo: vitor gabriel

Tonality and texture are key at Potts Point’s modern Greek restaurant the Apollo. Designed by Sydneysider George Livissianis, the simple colour palette highlights the craftsmanship of the wood, marble and textile finishes and the rawness of the existing building. Drawing inspiration from the rustic coastal towns of the Mediterranean, Livissianis has used the arched windows and stripped back walls to create a feeling of sunlight and age. But it’s not just the same modern furnishings/old building combination, there’s a definite responsiveness to the look and history of Greece – the bright pink subtly used as a feature is derived from old newsprints, traditional dress and signage.

Read in-depth interviews with the designer at ArchitectureAU and Yellowtrace.

Photos: Scott Needham