A New Wave of Restaurant Furniture

Melbourne's appetite for hip new eateries creates a constant need for innovation in interior design.


Bar Sur Loup

The challenge is to enhance the timeless, reinvent the out-dated, and keep everything in harmony. Principal of Design Studio Biasol, Jean-Pierre Biasol, prides himself on providing creative direction from concept to completion. James Richardson Furniture was involved as a furniture supplier to produce three such venues that show bold initiative in Melbourne restaurant furniture.

Bar Sur Loup is situated in the Bulleen Road shopping strip in North Balwyn. This area has seen endless iterations of retail and hospitality, so a standard French patisserie would hold little novelty. “My clients wanted to modernise the cliché of the French patisserie,” says Jean-Pierre. “They wanted to avoid the more stale, traditional elements, yet retain a French feel.” This is expressed through touches like custom painted socks on the James Richardson chairs and a deference to warm white and red tones.



Bar Sur Loup

The choice of material is crucial to any commercial interior – maintaining functionality while keeping all pieces in context. For Bar Sur Loup, Jean Pierre used French Oak in the shelving and tables to sustain the theme. “It’s very visual. There are merchandising shelves and the restaurant is segregated into its different parts, with the patisserie and an ice cream cart effect for the ice creamery.”





Il Gambero

The brief for Il Gambero in Carlton’s Lygon Street was a little different. As an Italian restaurant on a strip full of them, it had the difficult task of standing out while staying true to its forty-year history, and attract new customers. “We basically needed to retarget the market audience, while modernising and reintroducing a younger, generative clientele.”



Il Gambero

Jean-Pierre achieved this dichotomy of old and new by using contrasting material and colour palettes. For example, the wall claddings are locally sourced and rough-sawn, while the tables were lighter and dressed. “This has maintained the traditionalism of the Italian restaurant, but enhanced it to be modern and current.”



Lucky Penny

Lucky Penny in Chapel Street, South Yarra required something closer to a complete transformation. It was once the site of restaurant/bar/nightspot Kazbar, which, in Jean-Pierre’s words, had been a great bar in its time but had slipped in the last five to ten years, tarnishing its reputation. The challenge was to reinvent it as a cool café that sheds its previous roots and stands out on the busy retail strip. “We had to create an interior that was unpretentious and humble, yet powerful enough to challenge local perceptions? We wanted to resurface the venue to separate it from its previous existence.”



Lucky PennyThis meant a complete change of palette, taking it from the dark tones of an evening venue to something light and attractive to breakfast-goers and those looking for a relaxing coffee. The result is a rustic Scandinavian interior, with a lighter palette and use of weathered and reclaimed timbers.Choosing furniture for these kinds of commercial projects is a balancing act. Functionality, accessibility and price point are all constant considerations. Things become even tricker when the intention is to produce innovative and interesting designs with custom-made, bespoke manufacturing.”We are often working to very short time frames,” says Jean-Pierre. “A customer has minimal time to fit out, so James Richardson’s wide selection and good quantities in stock makes it easier to fill orders. They keep in touch with what’s happening in Europe, knowing that Australia will soon follow, and so their selection is fresh and their colour palettes change to reflect the expected demand. This creates a strong baseline for most projects.”

This foresight ensures customers keep on the cutting edge and have all the benefits of international suppliers, only with local convenience. See more furniture case studies here or sign-up to our newsletter on the right to stay in the loop with all James Richardson Furniture news.



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