Project Team

design: Studio Y

Photos: Leopold Fiala


lighting: Ambience Lighting

“Make it look 100 years old”.

This was the conceptual cornerstone for Stomping Ground Bar and Brewery. The idea was to create a beer garden, bar and exposed brewery with an interior dripping blue collar 1920s nostalgia. A kind of rebellion from the refined tasting experience often associated with wine, this 1500 metre juggernaut is instead drenched in the blood sweat and tears that goes into making its beer.

Studio Y approached the brief like set design by painting ‘age’ onto walls and manually distressing the timber. Drawing inspiration from the industrial revolution and the major architectural feats of this time such as Antwerp train station and large scale factories, we incorporated finishes like blackened steel, fluted glass panels, exposed I-beams and recycled brickwork. The bar displays a large suspended beer menu evocative of a sign at Grand Central Station. Two large fire places fill the interior with a smoked wood scent that hits visitors as they approach, hinting at the warm and welcoming interior that awaits.

Along the brewery wall we commissioned a woodworker to make replica vintage tram seats which are stacked up against each other like on a tram.

The beer garden is where we also ran wild with greenery and used exposed reinforced steel for the vines to grow up and around which sets the scene for it to slowly turn into an abandoned warehouse all over again, time being the final finish.

This project was all about impeccable detail. Injected with vintage-industrial finishes and a steampunk aesthetic, the brief was to make the interior feel like it was 100 years old whilst using 2016 technology. It included everything from refurbishing fixtures found in an abandoned Belorussian football stadium and modifying components to be assured of a first-class performance, to locally producing a number of original features.

Stomping Ground was designed to be very inclusive in terms of customer demographic. As the owners are both fathers, they wanted it to be family friendly and not seem too elitist or exclusive. A cubby house was therefore built in the beer garden to occupy children. Commissioned specifically from a company who specializes in children’s play houses, we briefed them to create something that would blend in with the interior concept. Not to be gaudy and tacky, the cubby house sits in the back of a beer garden almost like an extension of the foliage and timber accents.

Meticulously controlled light levels were executed for different zones so the mood is perfect no matter the time or occasion. This desire for added touches lent itself to furnishings that also received their own dedicated illumination. We implemented a turn of the century lighting strategy that included positioning, beam angles, colour output, creating custom responses and illuminating complex areas and details across the fitout.

For such a large space the budget for Stomping Ground was very tight. However, sometimes a restrictive budget can be a blessing as it forces you to think outside the box in how you utilize materials.

We tackled aging the space as if it was a finish itself so we had to approach the dressing almost like set design. An artist was commissioned to paint deterioration onto the lining board cladding and we went to great lengths to make sure all timbers were stained, beaten and distressed like you would see on a one hundred year old piece of joinery.

Disabling, restoring and reassembling the antique fixtures was challenging because most hadn’t been used for over thirty years. As well as this the modern fixtures needed to look 100 years old which required a delicate approach when applying a rapid aging process so as not to cause damage. Sourcing lights involved tapping into a global network, scouting abandoned warehouses and even re-purposing fittings found in Ambience Lighting’s warehouse that were left behind from previous tenants.

Despite the size and openness of the floor plan, Stomping Ground manages to feel unified and intimate. This can be attributed to the central bar and large glass dividing wall. We were able to rationalize the space into two main areas, the beer garden and the brewery, by placing the bar in the middle and making it accessible to patrons on a 360 degree axis.

This project’s tight budget ultimately contributed positively to the site’s sustainability as it drove the need for up-cycling.

There was a lot of glazing in the site already so we reused these to form the brewery window. We also sourced decommissioned railroad sleepers to form the beer garden decking and all of the brickwork used in the joinery has been recycled and given new life.

Together with Ambience Lighting we also refurbished lighting fixtures found in an abandoned Belorussian football stadium and modified the components to be assured of a first-class performance.

As the brewery is onsite it completely eliminates the need for import and transport thereby greatly reducing fuel and oil consumption.