A relatively old neighbour with a striking new look has appeared on the Menzie’s Lane precinct at Melbourne Central. Chilli Everest is well known for offering food theatre and convenience, not to mention delicious Nepalese treats. But, under the expert guidance of Architects EAT, its refreshed presence on the mock laneway is already doing as planned – tempting and enticing passing customers before they even step foot in the door.
“Chilli Everest offers a range of Nepali dishes, which present a mouth-watering variety of texture, colour and smell with every dish. Similarly, the design fit-out captures a tantalising wealth of texture, colour and smell within a very small boundary,” says Erin Pearce, Interior Designer, Architects EAT.
The colours and tiered profiles of Nepalese temples, countryside, monuments and food has inspired the team’s creative design. And perhaps its most appealing aspect is the mix of contrasting colours, material textures and illumination, which create both physical and visual layering within the space.
Take, for instance, the Rustic Red brick tiles–the spectacular feature for the servery counter–the Graphite tiles on the entrance walls, and rattan screening panels on the exterior wall and doors. Together they deliver a wonderful tactile, layered design:
“The Rustic Red brick tiles and custom cut bricks embrace and celebrate the colour of red; their staggered form and raw, earthy texture was introduced as a reflection of the landscape and architecture in Nepal. And graphite tiles were used to ensure that the lucky colour, red, was enhanced,” explains Erin.
In fact, the brick tiles are the face of the entrance, wrapping themselves from the exterior walls to the interior. And at points along the entrance, the darker brick tiles are creatively dotted with splashes of the Rustic Red brick tiles, tying in beautifully with the service counter.
As Erin says, the service counter is “the real gem in the crown for us.” Vertical rows of Rustic Red brick tiles are interspersed with custom cut Rustic Red bricks (at 90mm) to create a layered effect. They are then beautifully illuminated with strip lighting, intensifying their colour and texture, and creating variation in light and shadow. It is indeed a standout feature.
One aspect of the design that’s perhaps not so noticeable when Chilli Everest’s doors are open for business is the design of the doors themselves. Working out their operation and placement was the project’s first design decision. And the entire fit-out was designed around them so there was enough space for the door to lift into an open position. It’s now a key feature of the shopfront–albeit mainly when business is closed–with rattan screening on the inside face of the glass panels providing privacy and giving passing patrons a brief taste of the design that lies within.
Not surprisingly, Chilli Everest’s owners were extremely happy with the new design and business is absolutely thriving since re-opening. And it’s all thanks to a job exceptionally well done by the innovative team at Architects EAT.
Architect: Architects EAT Product: Rustic Red brick tiles (230 x 76 x 15mm) and custom cut Rustic Red bricks (90mm)
Graphite brick tiles Builder: Masterfit Construction Photographer: Chris Murray