Noma Australia managed to tread that fine line between representative materiality and realization that never descends into “featurism” or mawkishness. With a shelf life of only ten weeks, Noma Australia, through its collaborating creators, managed to embody the best the nation has to offer in terms of “ingredients,” both at the table and in the physical environment. The decision to create rammed earth counters is inspired. This is a material that is not suited to long-term hospitality use, but ideal for the short-term embodiment of the “earth beneath our feet” concept that reflects this great brown land – materially rich and satisfying, and highly evocative. “Fusion” is a word that’s been used practically to the extinction of all meaning in restaurant design, but Noma Australia truly managed to fuse the best of Noma and the best of Australia in a texturally satisfying tableau, executed with incredible finesse.
Widely regarded as the world’s best restaurant, Noma decamped to Australia for a ten-week residency in early 2016. Not your average pop-up, the project required a full-scale restaurant fitout and a treatment to reflect Noma’s uniquely defining ethos, which is firmly grounded in time and place. Mirroring Noma’s foraging principles, Foolscap Studio “gathered” materials and techniques to form the fundament of a space that symbolizes the meeting point of land and water. Because Noma’s food references the majesty of wild, raw nature, so do our allusions to rugged red earth, salt lakes, sweeping coastlines and wide open skies. Noma’s offering requires a huge staff team, as did this project. Lendlease was instrumental at the nexus between client and delivery. Materiality responded to the challenge of creating a space that was “temporary” yet “sustainable” – how to create a suitably refined environment for a thousand-dollar dinner for two, that also responds to the unusual requirements of a 100-strong staff – but doesn’t literally cost the earth that the menu celebrates.
For more on Noma Australia, read David Welsh’s review from Artichoke 56.
23 Barangaroo Road
Barangaroo NSW 2146
Level 3, 75–77 Hardware Lane
Melbourne Vic 3000
+61 3 9012 6637
See the whole gallery of images at the Eat Drink Design Awards website.
The 2017 Eat Drink Design Awards are organized by Architecture Media and AGM Publishing and supported by principal partner Taubmans; major partners Planned Cover and Shadowfax Wines; and supporting partners Tait, Stellar Works, Map, Schiavello, Laminex and Latitude.