Project Team

interior architecture: Studio Esteta
builder: K & K Industries

photography: Tessa Ross – Phelan


furniture: Prototype

Fonda Bondi, the first national store for the Melbourne based eatery, presents a design approach that reflects the fun, bright and youthful personality of the brand in a refined, slightly rustic and unpretentious resolution. The injection of colour was essential in translating the fun and fresh personality of the Fonda brand, but was applied in a bold but controlled & effective manner. Drawing upon the traditional ‘Fonda’ in Mexico; a home that opens its doors to the local community as a restaurant, and the brands motto ‘mi casa, su casa’, the design response was to inherit a casual personality through the creation of a warm and inviting setting.

The design is refined and layered with conceptual intent, inspired by the ideals of modern Mexican architecture paired with a sympathetic approach to the site context of the beach side suburb of Bondi. The works of architect Luis Barragan were a key point of inspiration, for his use of raw textures, bold colours and simple but striking forms. The curved powder blue ceiling to the front dining area draws direct inspiration from the costal surrounding.

The colour palette is light and bright, with accents of nude, rust and powder blue hues, inspired from the coastal surroundings as well as shades derived from Mexico.

The raw, honest and humble textures of Mexico are further reflected through a palette that layers materials including rendered wall finishes, rust toned encaustic tiles, rattan screens, varying shades of terrazzo and warm timbers.

The layout enables a fluid and seamless spatial flow for staff and patrons. The patron is taken on a journey through the store, from the buzzing ‘bar’ space at the front of the restaurant which speaks to the busy and bustling Hall street, through to the intimate booth seating in the middle of the space, and finally to the rear ‘sanctuary’, a luxurious banquette, surrounded by vegetation which softens and distorts views of the existing rear façade and residential street beyond.