More than just a refurbishment, this Adelaide venue required a full re-build after an explosion and fire gutted the property. Architect David Dawson explains…
This was an unusual project. The original building consisted of three different tenancies—a sporting goods specialist on the first floor, a cafe on the ground floor and The Wine Underground in the basement. An explosion destroyed all three businesses. After this, I was contacted by the building owner to redevelop the whole site. Ultimately, the owners of The Wine Underground took over the ground floor as well. The ground floor is a casual cafe-style venue called The Wine Underground 1862 Bar, while in the basement, The Wine Underground Restaurant continues its tradition as an upmarket lunch and dinner venue.
“We were able to lower the depth of the basement and increase the floor space of the restaurant. Originally, we thought there might be a single kitchen that serviced both restaurants but ended up having two separate kitchens on two different levels. In The Wine Underground Restaurant, the kitchen is concealed and had to be completely rebuilt. The only salvageable items were a couple of benches. The restaurant owners, Rory O’Neill and Ken James, purchased all the appliances and we designed the kitchen around that.
Rory and Ken had a firm idea of what they wanted in the new restaurant but gave us a fairly free hand with the design. Previously, The Wine Underground had been a bit of everything—a bar, a restaurant and a retail outlet. Now, it’s exclusively a restaurant with all other functions moved upstairs.
“As it’s a completely internal space with no windows, you’re not aware of what’s happening outside. We used a lot of indirect lighting to create a subdued mood—similar to a dining room in the evening.
“We used an InterfaceFlor ‘Born Free’ modular carpet with a zebra pattern from the B&W collection (www.interfaceflor. com.au). The insurance company wanted us to retain the existing furniture and restore and reupholster it. We managed to restore the tables but the chairs were ruined. We replaced them with comfortable leather chairs from James Richardson (www.jamesrichardson.com.au).
“We also wanted to provide a range of dining options. There are two separate private dining rooms. A textured cream wallpaper links upstairs and downstairs. The large dramatic blue panels on the walls are also a textured wallpaper. The original Wine Underground was really successful so the new version was expanded on that template.”
David Dawson Architects
64 Halifax Street
Adelaide SA 5000
Tel: (08) 8231 3999