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Market Grounds

Will Speros • Photography by Dion Robeson • June 27, 2018

Photos: Market Grounds

The Kings Square precinct of Perth, Australia is fixed right at the heart of the city, just beyond the nation’s western coast. Its central location makes it an apt setting for Market Grounds, a contemporary reimagining of Perth’s former market gardens. Housed within a transformed industrial volume, the concept accommodates a variety of bar and dining spaces that, while distinctive, reflect a convivial uniformity like only Oz can do.

However, when renovations started, the cold, large commercial space required a thorough reimagining. “We were designing within a very large concrete shell, so our strategy was to craft intimate and immersive moments within the space and the materiality guided this vision,” says Eva Sue, associate principal and lead designer for international architecture and design firm Woods Bagot. “This level of detail reflects the authenticity, originality, and quality of the project.”

Wrapped in a glazed façade, the property is home to 10,760 square feet of F&B space as well as nearly 8,400 square feet of additional indoor amenities including a mezzanine that maintains a visual link to outdoor seating. Sue explains, “It was important to consider the quality of the space holistically as we developed the multi-level layout to maximize the visual and physical connectivity and encourage patrons to flow throughout the space. Access to natural daylight and environmental conditions were key considerations in the design of the interior and alfresco zones.”

Outdoor areas, such as the beer garden, are appointed with handmade furniture crafted from locally sourced, reclaimed timber and antique Victorian park benches. Overall, the design flourishes in the balance between raw and refined details. Bold architectural statements like the metal staircase are offset by the softness of velvet booths, oversized aged brass pendants, and wallpaper that depicts the flora and fauna of western Australia. Abundant greenery also reinforces an urban oasis theme beneath a custom suite of lighting that highlights ceilings and textured walls.

Evocative of a traditional pub, the main bar is clad with black bricks and a black timber top accented by leather booths. A lighter aesthetic pervades the upstairs Mercado Bar, which is framed with timber, rich upholstery, and moody light effects that mingle with meticulously considered details ranging from hand-woven furniture and locally sourced vintage objects to handmade artwork.

“There was a handfinished and crafted quality that we were able to bring throughout the design,” Sue explains. “It was about providing diverse dining experiences whilst also creating a series of focal points throughout the venue.”

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