Our latest design gem comes from AB Design, an all-round design firm sporting quite the expansive portfolio. Based in Cape Town, AB Design has become industry leaders in a variety of fields including retail, (high-end) residential, exhibition, office, and even product design.
From Cape Town to Johannesburg, and just about everywhere in-between, the firm has ensured first-rate results for various clients across the country. No wonder they’ve walked away with a handful of awards, including ‘Retail Design Awards Canal Walk—Best retail store 2018’ and the ‘Plascon Award—Decorex best Interior designer exhibit’.
Let’s delve into one of their most recent projects that made use of one of the most innovate steps in architectural evolution: a Cape Town restaurant built from an old shipping container.
Contrary to what many of us might think, designing retail spaces does not mean a wealth of options. One has to consider safety regulations, commercial certificates, space restrictions, consumer demands, viability and, of course, a looming deadline – all of which can severely restrict a designer’s creative mindset.
For this project, the client – Brocka, a gourmet streetfood-type restaurant – was opening a branch in one of Cape Town’s most prominent shopping centres, Canal Walk. Looking through the brief, AB Design already spotted the challenges of this project:
• A circular space with no roof
• No back wall to work with
• A very durable design was required, with thousands of people moving through the space on a weekly basis.
The initial idea that the professionals conjured up consisted of a shipping container with a futuristic look and feel to it. The container would also be the kitchen and service area and provide a hub for the staff.
For extra seating, a mezzanine floor would be added to refrain from a too-crowded space.
However, idea no. 1 was not what transpired into the real-life design. But what was built and finished actually turned out to be quite the outstanding portfolio piece.
The idea of the shipping container was kept, even though it turned out to be too big to move through the mall doors, resulting in the team having to order different segments of the container and building it themselves inside the mall.
Five weeks later, Brocka was ready. Instead of the initial science-fiction design, it flaunted a special mix of industrial chic with a touch of street style. Exposed brick, copper, wood and steel became the star materials, ensuring a multi-layered look.
Gone was the original mezzanine floor idea as well, replaced by a wood-and-steel ‘roof’ that still manages to give patrons a bit of privacy while dining from the menu. Except now they have something pretty cool to look up to!
Branding is everything, which is why the big Brocka sign was placed outside the entrance and beams just enough to catches shoppers’ attention. And thanks to the industrial-chic look of the space, it’s not difficult fantasising that one’s entering a street-food spot located in Chicago or the bustling New York.
Let’s treat ourselves to a few more images of the new container restaurant Brocka!
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