88 MELBOURNE Restaurant
Australian Open 2019
The brief was for 88 Melbourne to have a premium focus, with a subdued colour palette, inspired by
top restaurants from around the world. Tennis Australia wished the look and feel should be “premium and stylish, comfortable, soft and plush”.
CHARD International created the inaugural 88 Melbourne in 2016 in tandem with changes implemented
by Tennis Australia in relation to their delivery of hospitality. The intention was to reinvigorate a prior model with the aim of establishing a bold new brand and increasing sales. Other than this, the brief was fairly open and focussed simply on catering for 424 guests in a range of group sizes, while achieving an ultimate sense of luxury and intimacy. The venue challenged the brief, at 740 square metres and with a ceiling height of 6m, it was both bland and vast.
CHARD presented an exciting new brand concept, ultimately contemporary albeit one with a perceived history. We wanted guests to feel that when entering, they had been transported to an oasis far from the madness of the crowds outside. Limited by time and budget, we invested in the manufacture of six metre tall drapes to divide the space. The drapes were strategically placed to establish seven smaller private dining spaces, a mid sized 100 seat dining room and also to direct traffic flow. The concept, colours, fabrics and objects were driven by those more usually seen in an archaeological excavation. Bespoke lighting, table top pieces and wallpapers discovered in hidden collections created strong focal points.
The colour palette focussed on golden hues and warm edison pendant globes dropping over each table kept guests focussed on their immediate surroundings.
88 Melbourne was an immediate success and continued to sellout each Australian Open since its inauguration. One of the key successes of 88 Melbourne was the dynamic impact of the drapes, how they built on each other to create veils of light and movement and how the odour of the hessian used in some of the main drapes infused the entire space with a beautiful straw like scent.
Client: Tennis Australia
Build: Flipside Design
Photographer: Armelle Habib
Custom Lighting: MXC Project
Planting: Nathan Burkett Design