Sometimes clients make it simple for you.
George Calombaris has taken Greek cooking, an ancient cuisine, and stripped it back and turned it upside down; March Studio did the same for his new restaurant, Gazi.
Inspired by its namesake post-industrial neighbourhood in Athens, a vibrant area now frequented by party-goers, the rough aesthetic sets the scene for hedonism and a good time out – a feature both the restaurant and its inspiration share.
The hidebound environment of the old Press Club has been ripped out, its bones suddenly exposed and scrubbed raw. Then we rebuilt it; not in our image but in some imagined image of the stylised men and women we’ve seen on ancient urns and vases.
Speaking of clayware we hung a few pots from the ceiling, too - 3874 of them to be precise. The effect is of a sweeping vault, lifting around windows and doors, falling where it can and creating an immersive, warm environment for dining. The pots, of 3 different sizes, are packed to allow lights and services to either drop through the porous vault or be hidden behind. Fixed on steel rods of 14 different lengths, the ceiling is both ordered and chaotic. Like a kitchen, the chaos viewed from the outside belies the order known on the inside.
The furniture is stripped back, too. Tables cut from humble steel sections, splayed out to make a simple base and adorned with plywood and black laminate tops. Chairs by Daniel Barbera complement the pared-back aesthetic and the colour scheme. The natural black steel of the bar is designed for no-nonsense, in-and-out fare. In counterpoint, a row of Tasmanian Oak booths flank Exhibition Street, providing a more casual setting for a relaxed long lunch that might just slip sideways into a debauched dinner.
Photography by Mark Ashkanasy.