In an interesting twist to a client brief, a newly formed interior architecture practice has designed Adriano Zumbo’s latest restaurant to resemble his extravagantly-styled mother.

‘Fancy Nance’, so named after Zumbo’s perennially glamorous mother Nancy, is the master chef’s newest Melbourne venture and is also the first landmark project for the recently born Studio Tate.

Studio Tate was first approached by Zumbo to design the hybrid cafe and cocktail bar after catching his eye in a quirky Instagram competition. On accepting the brief, the firm then went to work to transform the South Yarra shop front into an adaptable and playful design that could function as a hybrid space but also emulate Zumbo’s creative and flamboyant identity.

More than that, and in what could be considered as a curry favour, Studio Tate crafted a space that would also please Zumbo’s biggest influence—his mother.  They turned to the story of Nancy the Fancy Flamingo to inform the theme of the restaurant and to recreate Nancy Zumbo’s notoriety as a woman who loved dressing up and opulent décor.

The firm notes that all the spaces within Fancy Nance work to a consistent geometry that reference the distinctive form and proportions of the flamingo’s body and patterns of their feathers.

"When we first met with Adriano, it was clear that our concept mirrored his vision for the space," says Alex Hopkins, Principal and co-founder of Studio Tate.

“With her lush feathers and graceful legs, Nancy the Fancy Flamingo guides the tone of the venue, which takes on a personality in line with the iconic Zumbo brand.”

The influence of the flamingo, as well as Zumbo’s architecturally sculpted cakes, have been crafted into the visual language of the space through exposed metal framework, high-gloss surfaces, eclectic accessorising, custom-made plush pink booth seating and graffiti illustrations of the Mad Hatter’s tea party by artist Daniel Wenn.

The space will function as a tea salon, bakery, cafe and cocktail bar in one, an adaptability achieved through Studio Tate’s use of low dividing walls, choice of furniture and way finding accessorising,

The front of the restaurant opens up to Daly Street laneway and doubles as a bakery/café in the morning. Studio Tate says their choice of geometric tiles and pastel pink and cream walls for this space is reminiscent of strawberries dipped in white chocolate.


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