The new hot-spot on Bondi’s buzzing Hall Street is the first national eatery for Fonda, which already has a line-up of successful Melbourne locations.
Cremorne-based architecture and interiors firm Studio Esteta have worked serious wonders with what was once 193-square-metres of run-down hospitality venue! Directors Sarah Cosentino and Felicity Slattery set out to reflect the fun, bright and youthful persona of Fonda, in a refined, slightly rustic and unpretentious manner. Their bold colour choices and on-trend materials palette have tied the space together, lending the interiors a sophisticated yet fun personality.
Here, the diligent duo runs us through their considered design approach.
Tell us about your work on Fonda Bondi?
We were engaged by Fonda in January 2017 to design their first national store. The brief called for a design response that maintained the fun, fresh and youthful brand identity and casual service model they are known and loved for in Melbourne, but similarly responds to the direct context of Bondi.
Our design inspired by the ideals of modern Mexican architecture, paired with a sympathetic approach to the history of the beachside suburb. The works of architect Luis Barragan were a key point of inspiration – his use of raw textures, bold colours, and simple but striking forms.
What are the standout features of this project?
The palette layers, including rendered wall finishes, rust-toned encaustic tiles, rattan screens, varying shades of Terrazzo and warm timbers.
The patterned quality of Terrazzo and its array of colour and aggregate choices is what informed our selections for the project. Terrazzo’s imperfect patterns reflect the natural movement and pattern in nature. For example, our design reference of aerial views of Bondi beach with people scattered along the shores made an interesting resemblance to the material.
Our overall colour strategy brings together powder blue (Bondi beach), earthy shades (Mexico), and varying shades of green (a connection to the external environment). There’s a monolithic communal table clad in powder blue terrazzo in the central dining space, and a nude-pink-and-rust coloured Terrazzo lines the counter. Green Terrazzo floor tiles are used alongside a timber banquette and greenery to create a ‘sanctuary’ towards the rear of the interior.
Who was involved in the fit-out?
Our team worked alongside Fonda directors Tim McDonald and Dave Youl and their team to ensure all brand, aesthetic and operational requirements were executed to a high level.
K & K Industries were the builders, and Ambience lighting assisted us in the architectural lighting design, the control system and some custom lighting. Prototype furniture manufactured the custom tables that we designed, and classic Thonet No. 811 Hoffman chairs were included as a notable link to the custom rattan screens and woven pendants. The Plant Room was responsible for the greenery in the rear ‘sanctuary’ dining area and the potted cactus’ that are scattered throughout.
Did you encounter any challenges during this project?
It was a challenge being in a different city to the builder and our project site. You take for granted being able to drop in every two weeks to ensure quality is being maintained. Fortunately, we engaged a Project Manager early on, who visited regularly and kept all parties on track – it was quite fast paced, typical of commercial lease pressures!
How have people been responding to the place?
When photographing the project in mid-October, only days before Fonda opened its doors, there was excitement in the street. It was a buzzing Saturday on Hall Street, and bypassers were constantly stopping to peer in and find out more. Witnessing this first-hand was very rewarding for us, and there has been a lot of positive feedback since!