Canberra designer Aaron Copeland of Capezio Copeland worked closely with the restaurateurs and local artisans to produce a one-of-a-kind establishment
“We knew both the owners, Gus Armstrong and Sean Royle—we are all Canberra locals. They found a space in a new commercial building in Braddon to start a restaurant. This is one of the city’s fastest growing social precincts.
“In the early stages, the owners had strong opinions on the function and layout of the restaurant, particularly how the kitchen and bar should be organised. But they were also keen to see how we could take it through to the next stage of detail and design.
“They developed a concept of ‘raw versus refined’—it’s a bit like Gus and Sean themselves who are really active and social in the local hospitality scene. They’re extremely focused and passionate about the quality of food they serve and bringing the full dining experience to customers.
“Many spaces in Braddon are quite commercial and we didn’t want to ignore the industrial history in the area. We did, however, want to provide a level of refinement and detail to the space that’s more respondent to the food and its presentation.
“We introduced some industrial elements, such as the steel and raw brick, but contrasted that with more finished materials, such as the oak joinery. The furniture has a clean finished aesthetic.
“Part of the design concept was using local talent. We’re very passionate about Canberra artists, including industrial designer Tom Skeehan who created the collection of high and low oak stools. They were customised from his original ply prototype. Due to the success of the stool, they’re now available through Zenith Interiors (www.zenithinteriors.com). Other Canberra designers were involved such as Luke Chiswell, who developed the branding and uniforms, and the tableware comes from local manufacturer Bison.
“We decided not to make the light fittings a feature, focusing on the light source itself. The biggest driver for that was the louvered glass bulkhead which gives a sense of transparency between the kitchen and the open space. This integrated backlighting to illuminate the space and act as an outside beacon which is both unusual and functional.
“Another lighting feature is a yellow neon sign. It’s positioned so that it’s visible from both the main street of Braddon and within the space itself. Again, it’s a strong contrast with the recycled bluestone cobble featured in the restaurant. The stone is also used as a backdrop to the wine rack behind the main dining space.
“The dining space is always loud and activated with people, music and cooking. It’s reflective of how the guys envisioned the restaurant to run, particularly by keeping the kitchen exposed.
“The fact that they’re not trying to be too formal has received a lot of interest. It means that eightysix is not just relying purely on the design of the space; it’s the personalities, atmosphere and the food that really counts.”
Unit 3, 113 Canberra Ave
Griffith ACT 2603
T: 02 6161 8686