A Restaurant Designed to be Experienced like a Street Market

Words by Anthony Richardson

Eating inside a restaurant is vastly different to experiencing a street market, especially in regards to the spaces and atmosphere. However Craig Tan Architects wanted to create a village-like atmosphere at HWKR Food Centre.


How do you design a social atmosphere and experiences typically found in street markets? I’ve been to the Night Noodle Market a couple times now and whilst waiting in gigantic lines is the downside, there’s a certain energy and buzz in the area. Being commissioned by ICD property and Brandworks to design a 200 seat Asian food centre in the EQ Tower, Craig Tan Architects wanted to create an village-like atmosphere while at the same time a intimate, active and layered experience that you find in urban laneways.

Craig Tan Architects designed a series of volumes, or better described as ‘pavilions’, into the space in an effort to crate a permeable food centre. These pavilions open to the retail arcade, and offers intimacy and an urban outdoor scale. To activate the space, a sculptural bar and terraced seating are designed. The services above your head are exposed, revealing the existing soffit which gives you a sense of rustic and an urban gritty feeling. Using the branding, graphic colours spill out into the urban spaces with a series of luminous colourful canopies. There’s a sense of futurism, with glowing neon lights, paired with familiar material such as timber and soft pastel colours.

Besides it being a funky place to eat, Craig Tan can confirm the food is really good. “The food is amazingly good for a very reasonable cost,” Craig says “You have either start-ups, overseas restaurants testing the market, or established Melbourne restaurants trying new menus. So the food you get there is always unique to HWKR.” Quite an unique aspect to the kitchen design is the flexibility, where the line can change equipment overnight. Craig explains “the featured restaurants can change every 3-6 months. For a permanent restaurant that is quite unique.”

If you’re interested in checking out this restaurant for yourself, you can find them at Ground Floor, 137 A'Beckett St. Melbourne, VIC 3000, or visit their website www.hwkr.com.au/

The pavilions are then eroded and hollowed out, with the food tenancies located within, becoming part of the fabric of the pavilions. The spaces in-between the pavilions become pseudo urban squares.
— Craig Tan Architects


Project Name _ HWKR Food Centre
Architect _
Craig Tan Architects | www.craigtanarchitects.com/
Location _
Melbourne CBD
Project Completed _ 2018
Photographer _
Jaime Diaz-Berrio | www.jaimediazberrio.com

Published with BowerBird