design: Technē Architecture + Interior Design
lighting: Douglas & Bec, Light Project
The latest iteration of Biggie Smalls blends the restaurant chain’s original street-art and hip-hop influences with an elevated New York City diner aesthetic.
The Chapel Street site has been brought to life by Technē Architecture + Interior Design, taking the existing brand cues of Biggie Smalls, including street art, hip hop images and neon – to create a vibrant, yet elegant diner aesthetic.
The site, located in a narrow heritage-listed building, posed a design challenge, in how best to maximise functionality within a restricted, split-level space.
Technē Architecture + Interior Design found an elegant solution in a long, dramatic bar and two step ramps extending towards the kitchen at the rear of the venue. Fixed bar stools respond in height to the changing levels, acting as anchors within a dynamic space.
Responding to a brief that called for a shift in focus towards drinks service, the bar is a striking and inviting blend of walnut stained timber, black granite, and brass highlights. Combined with ample overhead storage and decorative pendant lights, the bar provides a polished focal point for guests to linger over.
“The intention was to have consistent design cues around the diner theme, but with a shift in mood to more of a bar/diner where people will grab a bite to eat, but stay for a few drinks,” says Technē senior interior designer Jonny Mitchell.
Towards the rear of the venue, generous booths and more flexible tables encourage group gatherings, while also acting as a setting for more playful artwork and references to the Biggie Smalls hip-hop DNA.
“The design is complemented by imagery, pop culture references, and playful menu branding, all of which come together to create the unique Biggie Smalls experience that it is known for, in a way that is contextual to Windsor’s characterful identity,” Jonny explains.
Ceiling-mounted track lights allow for a flexible approach to highlighting intimate night settings as well as more relaxed daytime hours.
Much consideration has been given to the finer details of the project, in particular, to soften the compact width of the space. Curved forms and details extend from the use of fluted glass to custom steel shelf brackets that work to further emphasise the diner aesthetic.