Project Team

Design: Matt Woods Design


Furniture: Cafe Culture, James Richardson, Yellow Diva
Edison Light Globes, Inlite




Photography: Sam Ali

“Double rainbow all the way across the sky!” With that simple phrase you are welcomed through the front doors of Chi Chi, Matt Woods Design’s latest hospitality project. If you are unfamiliar with the phrase we suggest you Google it. The attention grabbing neon is reflective of the humorous tongue-in-cheek response to what has ultimately been the studio’s most trend-conscious project to date.

Princess Chair

Classic design Bentwood chair. Solid European beech frame with beech ply seat. Available in Walnut, Wenge, Jarrah, Teak, Natural and Raw

James Richardson

The Chi Chi Group is taking a punt here. The restaurant is located in the south western Sydney suburb of Canley Heights (a stone’s throw from Cabramatta), one of the countries most multicultural areas, well known for it’s traditional Asian flavoured, no frills, lowcost dining experiences. Whilst it’s apparent you may find Sydney’s best value pho in the area, this is uncharted territory for a modern, inner-city styled Asian restaurant and bar.

Some might say risky business, however noting both the heavy foot traffic of the Canley Vale Road dining strip, and the mass exodus of the area’s youth (who flock to the city’s east to experience bars and restaurants of a similar ilk) it was a risk worth taking.

To possibly alleviate some of this risk, the brief called for a fit out reflective of the name; Chi Chi: affectedly pretty or stylish,
deliberately chic. As such, the fit out responds with confidence and good humour.

De-materialisation is the focus here with a conscious effort made to retain and work with the primary structure of the existing building. In an honest response to the existing interior architecture, brick walls, steel trusses, concrete floors and timber ceilings are deliberately expressed to expose the building’s former industrial heritage. New forms take an angular approach with recycled timber battens clad to the entry dwarf wall, whilst mild steel cross straps draw your attention to the open plan kitchen and bar, both of which are framed with angular hoods made of obscure wire glass and steel.

In addition, the aforementioned trusses are illuminated with strategically placed LED strips, and the render over the existing brick wall is peeled back at a 45º angle to create a series of almost silhouetted peaks.Throughout the interior, mild steel, concrete, copper, brass, marble and reclaimed timber are used in their raw state, envisioned to patina as the fit out comes of age. In contrast, the giant magenta fusuma screens (dividing the dining room from the bar) along with blasts of eggplant and yellow within joinery and furniture items set a playful tone. The result is an attempt to ensure patron’s eyes are kept on the move whilst new feature finishes focus on individual materials intrinsic value.

A rough and ready, floor-to-ceiling Manga-styled super graphic, courtesy of the lads at SPECIAL, runs the entire length of the dining
room. Stare long enough at the wheat paste-up (installed by the designers themselves) and you’ll find a proliferation of irreverent and cheeky pandas poking fun at pop culture icons such as Daft Punk, Pulp Fiction, skeletal zebras and even the front-loading washing machine. The one in the shades is Ming, whilst the lucky waving panda is, of course, Chi Chi.

Croissant Table

Solid beech with mdf top in painted finish with or without cross.

Cafe Culture