Located within the well-known historic and heritage listed Queen Victoria Building, with views over Town Hall Square, Reign presented the team with both stunning elements to work with, and many challenges to work around.
The client brief was for a champagne bar recalling the elegant and luxurious reception rooms in the estates of old but also to be relevant to contemporary culture. Flooded with natural light and heritage detail, the space has a voice of its own, and the approach to the design grew from a desire to highlight and complement the existing space. Inspiration was drawn from the Japanese tradition of Kinsugi – to recognize the history of an object and visibly incorporate the repair into the new piece instead of disguising it.
Once the operational layouts were worked through and detailed including all equipment specifications, the design developed into an elegant, curvaceous look & feel with a rich palette of marbles, brass and leather. Elements of theatre were created as focal points throughout the space, with particular focus placed on the island bar. Positioning the bar as an island added to the creation of intimate spaces for patrons. This was further achieved with the Banquette seating and brass screens adorn the venue, and the entire space offers uninhibited views to the heritage facade and maximizes natural light. The kitchen located in one corner balances with the feature wine cellar in the other. Details of surfaces and finishes, and incorporation of lighting, were integral to completing the layering and depth of the design.
Being a heritage space, challenges revolved around preservation of heritage fabric balanced with operational and BCA/AS/DDA requirements for compliance. Unable to penetrate the existing floor structure, the whole floor was required to be raised to accommodate services and required a wheelchair accessible ramp. Throughout the project, attention to fixing details and junctions to heritage fabric has been crucial not only for approvals but also for ensuring the integrity of the existing space.