Melbourne architect Adam Dettrick had to marry an array of discordant elements—from graffiti art to ancient Spanish light fixtures—when designing MoVida’s new tapas bar.
First and foremost, MoVida Nextdoor is an urban laneway restaurant, which embraces Melbourne’s urban culture. The decorative element comes from an interpretation of the Moorish influence on Spanish culture, although we are conscious of the fact that MoVida doesn’t want to be a Spanish theme restaurant. We designed this new tapas bar which is right next door to the main restaurant. Originally, it was an old gentlemen’s club, built in the 1920s. Frank Camorra [chef/owner] knew MoVida Nextdoor would complement the main restaurant, partly because it doesn’t take bookings. Customers can be sent next door if tables are full. We drew various references from Spain, including Frank’s experiences when growing up. His favourite town is Cordoba, famous for the mosque which was converted into a church [in the 13th century]. So the egg-ring screens bring in the Moorish-Spanish feel—the egg ring has a cookie cutter inserted into it and sandwiched between two layers of fibre glass.
Meanwhile, the graffiti on the side of the building adds an urban element. Hosier Lane is becoming well-known for its graffiti and the artists actually live upstairs. Whatever we asked for, the artists would say, ‘No problem’.
Part of the kitchen was already there but the main space with the bar is all new and continues into the kitchen. The original door came in off Flinders Street which is very busy, so we put a new door off Hosier Lane. By putting the bar in the centre, you can walk in, take a seat at the bar, have a glass of sherry and some tapas. There’s always movement—a bit of controlled chaos.
Then you can move past the bar to the dining space which has bigger tables. You can have larger groups or share a table with others.
The flooring is the existing tile floor. Again, because we had a budget, we just changed what we needed to change. The tiles have a slate-like appearance so we decided that was good enough for us.
There’s a lot of glass in the space with plenty of natural light during the day. When in Spain, Frank purchased old terracotta roof tiles that have been turned into light fittings. They now hang from the ceiling as well as wall lights—each could easily be several hundred years old.
The tiles underneath the bar also came from Spain. A third of them broke in transit but thankfully the other two-thirds were exactly what we needed. That injects an eclectic feel. MoVida Nextdoor is a small space but every millimetre has been designed. During each meeting, we redesigned it and ended up back where we were with the central bar. Every chair, every dry bar, every size had to be calculated to make sure it all worked.
Adam Dettrick Architect
305/20-22 McKillop Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel: (03) 9606 0774
Fax: (03) 9606 0773
1 Hosier Lane
Tel: (03) 9663 3038