Me old bamboo
Established not quite a decade ago in 1998, Elenberg Fraser is on the cusp of the architectural generation gap. Still considered part of the young generation, the practice is also now experienced enough to be considered for serious grown-up architectural commissions.
And, while many practices at this point decide that they no longer want to concern themselves with bars and restaurants in favour of more heavy-weight projects, Elenberg Fraser is simply making sure it brings its tested experience to the arena. It shows in the results. Gingerboy is the latest venture from chef and restaurateur Teague Ezard in Melbourne, Australia. With an ultra-
Modern, East-meets-West space and an innovative, street stallinspired menu, it avoids any themed dining clichés in favour of sleek architectural devices and clever use of materials and lighting.
The Gingerboy design concept draws on traditional Asian interiors, and the overall effect creates an intimacy akin to the Shanghai tea rooms of the 1950s. Featuring a robust, bamboo long-bar, it allows clientele to sample Asian-influenced cocktails and tapas, while viewing the activity and animation of the open kitchen. Central to the dining experience is the installation of a random array of dark bamboo poles with hundreds of point lights interwoven, creating an atmosphere of airy markets and an open night sky. A grand, low hung, lantern-style light fitting,expressly designed for the space, is centred over the more casual dining area. The atmosphere of a starlit, open-air market is offset with contemporary furniture, including clear Perspex Victoria Ghost chairs and stools by Kartell, and sleek banquet seating. Custom-made bamboo tables, with a highgloss finish, complete the look.
Previous major projects for Elenberg Fraser include Watergate Place, a twin tower development at Melbourne Docklands, Liberty Towers, Melbourne, and Huski spa retreat at Falls Creek, Victoria. Elenberg was also named Telstra Australian Young Business Woman of the Year for 2003, an award that celebrates young women who have demonstrated achievement, leadership and innovation. Led by directors Zahava Elenberg and Callum Fraser, the practice comprises professionally qualified architects and talented recent graduates, and it is this that means it is able to combine grand schemes with the youthful energy that has lately become its calling card. ‘Our mission at Elenberg Fraser is to carry out ambitious building projects at multiple scales and programmes, with a commitment to innovation, design and sustainability,’ says Elenberg.
Gingerboy took a total of five months to complete – three on the drawing board and a further two in construction time. The total cost was AUD 650 000 (£264 000).
The bamboo floorboards are supplied by Bamboo Australia, and the installation in the restaurant uses hand-stained bamboo poles with LEDs from Fairy Lights Australia. The Sonny track lights are by Euroluce and the Josephine T pendant, by Metalarte, was supplied by LPA Australia.
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