From the architect (words by Stephen Crafti):
When Fabric Architecture were approached by Empire Bay Tavern to work on their renovation, they were struck by the beauty of the angophora trees that arched over the road to the tavern. This created an instant point of inspiration for the new fit-out.
The goal for the renovation was for the space to match the quality of the food; as Empire Bay Tavern is a known gastro pub in the area. Fabric Architecture sought to anchor the design in the local area by using the colours and patterns of the national park that borders the venue as the design motif for the space.
This can be found in the bespoke carpets, which takes cues from the peeling bark of the angophora trees. The shape of the trees can also be seen in the two large inverted parasol-style lights/installations set into the bar that also conceal the former ‘nest’ of chunky columns. Thoughtfully lit, these forms also provide a contrast to the now black-painted pitched ceiling.
Mindful of the client’s budget, Fabric Architecture retained some of the original elements, such as the 13-metre-long bar. But now it’s finished in glazed terracotta-coloured tiles, with a terrazzo bench and metal fins along its front – the latter painted in the original Colorbond ‘Manor Red’ .
Other colour choices for the Empire Bay Tavern include deep burgundy velvet and a eucalypt green hued leather for the new built-in banquette seating, delineated from the loose tables and chairs by built-in planters. Oak framed tables with eucalypt tops repeat the same palette. Working with subtle hues of greens and greys that evoke the trees found in the national park.
Although a substantial amount of the original structure was integrated into the refit, there were also a few changes made – such as a new steel and reeded-glass wall to discretely conceal the bathrooms and a new reeded glass wall/shelving unit to create a ‘veil’ to the kitchen (the brief didn’t include upgrading the bathrooms and the kitchen).
Those visiting the Empire Bay Tavern now have the choice of a more traditional pub environment or the new bistro offering, designed to reflect the menu with is filled with local produce and high grade pub fare.