Frederic Restaurant

Cremorne VIC Australia

Drawing on mid-century European arthouse cinema for inspiration, SJB’s most recent project with the Reymond family —siblings Nathalie, Edouard and Antoine — is a Cremorne restaurant and bar designed to accommodate for all occasions.

“The mood is French New Wave and Italian Modernism,” says Léo Terrando, SJB director and project leader. “The cinema of the 1950s was both revolutionary and a revelation. Inspiration is taken from cinematography legends Francois Truffaut, Jean- Luc Godard and Jacques Rivette.”

Occupying the ground floor of a modern office building, the restaurant and bar demonstrate a skilful blend of the everyday with the theatrical – of utilitarian concrete with far more lavish elements. “I didn’t want to hide the given building,” says Léo Terrando. “Concrete is what we have, and I want to explore that element.”

Set against this background grey mirrors, Thonet bentwood chairs, marbles in various hues and a 70’s Italian chandelier. Other materials, used judiciously, include cork, rattan and pale blue leather. Adding to the European atmosphere, polished steel provides a contemporary take on classic French detailing – the traditional overhead glass rack, for instance, executed in steel. The same material, this time with backlit margins, is used for the wall of wine storage, further contributing to the drama.

There is a flexibility and intimacy to the space, with glass screens around tables for two and curtains to be drawn around the curved banquette. Seating options range from stools at the bar to chairs around tables in a range of sizes, including a large communal one.

Details such as intricate mosaic flooring and a concertinaed screen of large photographs from ‘Playtime’ add layers of complexity to the design and reveal themselves gradually.

“It is the sort of place you would feel comfortable having a coffee in the morning, going back for steak frites at lunch, and returning for something more substantial for dinner,” says Léo Terrando. “The design has enough options that you could go back five or ten times and have a completely different experience each time.”

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