Opening a Brisbane restaurant in a new riverfront complex called for a warm palette and custom-made furniture to soothe and excite, according to interior designer Kristen Harris.
“We spent just six months designing and fitting the restaurant, completing it in August 2006. Most of the site was developed and sold off the plan, which meant we didn’t have a massive lead time.
I liked the fact that it was a clean slate—just a hole in the wall. The restaurant is about 100 square metres, plus 50 square metres of outside dining. There is also an inside dining area in the foyer of the Dendy cinema. When you combine all three zones, it is quite big—although the shop floor itself is compact.
When designing the restaurant, I had to make sure guests dining outside could see the view of the Brisbane River. It’s not the biggest and best view in town but people like to be near the river.
The owners, Paul and Prue McGivern, had previously run Rapide in Camp Hill but this time they decided to use a professional designer to create a more finished look. They had a lot of input into Restaurant Manx and wanted to make it warm and inviting.
They also had firm ideas on layout and positioning of the kitchen and bar. While I designed the dining zones, Paul hired a specialty team to design the kitchen and work zones. This meant I could focus on the colour palette and custom-made furniture. Rich tones of red and brown, which appear on the interior walls, leather dining chairs, woven carpets and dark timbers, create a warm, earthy, comfortable feel. It also brings continuity to the different dining areas.
I designed all the outdoor seating, the seating in the cinema foyer and also the banquette along the mezzanine level. The perforated, ceramic wall lights and table in the wine room were also custom-made.
The wine room at the back of the restaurant is very dramatic. It offers a cosy dining room with bottles of wine lining the walls from floor to ceiling. Over the room is a large pendant light, which is a box-pleated cylinder. It has a neutral shade on the outside and a red fabric on the inside, which creates a lovely, inviting soft glow.
Many guests also comment on the sheer curtains that are used to divide areas. With lighting set in the tracks, it shines on the outside of the curtains so guests can see out better than they can see in. This provides more privacy.
Another important section is the big, curved stone bar. If guests arrive early in the evening, they can sit at the bar and have a few drinks as they wait for other friends to arrive.
Overall, the restaurant doubles up as a casual riverfront venue during the day, and a glamorous restaurant for evening dining. Although I completed the project more than a year ago, my partner and I often dine there. The owners still welcome us with open arms, so I know they are happy with the result.”
Building 7, 11 Hercules Street, Hamilton, Qld.
Phone: (07) 3216 4999
Kristen Harris Interior Design
2/28 Oakwood Street, Annerley, Qld.
Phone: (07) 3848 4763
Mobile: 0417 949 721