Being lovers of Southern American culture and hip-hop, five Melbourne friends felt their local foodie scene was missing something, and that was some serious food for the soul!
With that in mind, they opened restaurant and bar Mr Big Stuff in Meyers Place, a space that got a complete overhaul by Techne Architecture + Interior Design. Paying homage to the owners’ concept, the restaurant is inspired by American music and film culture from funk to old school hip-hop, but reinterpreted in a contemporary way, relevant to Melbourne.
“Like all our projects, this project is defined by the unique collaboration between us, the clients and the graphic designers,” says Nick Travers of Techne. “It responds to the brief where the clients were looking for a Melbourne version of Southern American soul food, blended with particular music and film references.”
Faced with limited natural light, the challenge was to expand the sense of space and bring daylight into the dining room. They also kept the existing kitchen, bar equipment, bathrooms and heating and cooling system, so they could focus all their attention on the customer areas for maximum effect.
The result is an intimate restaurant that only seats 53 and will serve soul food and drinks. The Southern American vibe is main point of interest for the restaurant, with a DJ and music component added to the dining and bar experience.
With the help of graphic design studio Can I Play, the interior is further brought to life through accents of reds, yellows and oranges, alongside custom artworks of African-American culture. “There are lots of surprising elements,” says Nick. “The duality of the graphics on the V-shaped bulkhead over the bar, the pyramidal acoustic foam wall paneling around the DJ booth and the ‘Token Neon Sign’ in the bathroom.”
The feature pyramid foam wall is definitely a standout, creating the perfect backdrop for enjoying some funky sounds and flavours.