Noma Australia Restaurant Pop-Up at Sydney's Barangaroo by Foolscap Studio | Yellowtrace

Noma Australia Restaurant Pop-Up at Sydney's Barangaroo by Foolscap Studio | Yellowtrace

Noma Australia Restaurant Pop-Up at Sydney's Barangaroo by Foolscap Studio | Yellowtrace

Noma Australia Restaurant Pop-Up at Sydney's Barangaroo by Foolscap Studio | Yellowtrace

 

It has been impossible to read the news recently and not come across a mention of Noma‘s arrival in Australia, but when the ‘World’s Best Restaurant’ camps out in the country for ten weeks, we should expect no less. The figures are pretty wild – four minutes for all 5,500 seats to sell out (at $485 per head), a wait list of 27,000 and 100 staff members of 20 different nationalities, who took five research trips around Australia to source ingredients for the menu. But we’re not here to talk numbers – today we’re casting gaze at the elemental interior design, created by Adele Winteridge and Dhiren Das of Foolscap Studio.

Located in Barangaroo’s Anadara building, the temporary restaurant occupies a 500sqm space with floor-to-ceiling curved glass windows and water views. Responding to Noma Head Chef René Redzepi’s design brief for something ‘uniquely Australian’, Foolscap created an elemental dining experience inspired by the Australian coastal landscape – the meeting point of land and water and Redzepi’s journey sourcing ingredients along the coastline.

 

Noma Australia Restaurant Pop-Up at Sydney's Barangaroo by Foolscap Studio | Yellowtrace

Noma Australia Restaurant Pop-Up at Sydney's Barangaroo by Foolscap Studio | Yellowtrace

Noma Australia Restaurant Pop-Up at Sydney's Barangaroo by Foolscap Studio | Yellowtrace

Noma Australia Restaurant Pop-Up at Sydney's Barangaroo by Foolscap Studio | Yellowtrace

 

Foolscap Studio share, “As designers we can’t always expect all of the details to be read or understood, but when people connect with a space it is for these reasons – material choice (our ingredients) play a big role in that.” We love this sentiment, viewing the materials like ingredients, and approaching them in similar ethos to Noma with food: with honesty to material and process, with an understanding of origin and with an appreciation for quality and craftsmanship. Adele of Foolscap Studio adds, “Our approach reflected and interpreted Noma’s approach to dishes – as not being overly complicated or over-worked – but purely focused on the quality of the particular ingredient, starting with a key ingredient then overlaying beautiful details and subtleties.”

The space is anchored by three key materials that were applied and formed by hand on-site – rammed earth, sculptural plywood forms and oxidised flooring. The sculptural rammed earth walls and benches were specially designed by an earth builder, using layers of individually-coloured material compacted on-site, to reflect the sedimentary land forms at the various locations Noma sourced native ingredients. A louvered shop-front façade handcrafted from plywood is designed as a vertical conceptual abstraction of the Australian bushland. Adding to the quintessentially Australian feeling is the oxidized floor treatment, a textured render inspired by aerial photos of salt lakes near WA. Overall, the restricted material palette effectively communicates the concept of regeneration – an idea Foolscap imbedded to reference the way that bushland regenerates through fire, Noma’s use of fire and BBQ use as part of contemporary Australian life.

 

Noma Australia Restaurant Pop-Up at Sydney's Barangaroo by Foolscap Studio | Yellowtrace

Noma Restaurant Pop-Up at Barangaroo Sydney by Foolscap Studio | Yellowtrace

Noma Restaurant Pop-Up at Barangaroo Sydney by Foolscap Studio | Yellowtrace

Noma Restaurant Pop-Up at Barangaroo Sydney by Foolscap Studio | Yellowtrace

 

Reflecting Noma’s approach to detail – intensely focused on quality and craftsmanship, with an outcome that is uniquely informal and approachable – every design detail was considered and developed with local producers, right down to the crafting of each plate and door handle. Table settings feature hand blown glass designs by Brian Hirst, custom hand-crafted stoneware using a mix of Australian clays by Paul Davis & Jacqueline Clayton, and cast concrete vases by Studio Twocan which were individually made and custom coloured to create organic layering inspired by Australian landscapes and colours. Staff wear refined linen uniforms designed by Sydney-based Jac+Jack, and floral arrangements by Melbourne creative Joost Baker use native species that regenerate through fire. Bluestone door handles use stone sourced from the Kanmantoo Stone Quarry in the Adelaide Hills, and Tasmanian wallaby pelts are draped over chairs – a playful substitute for the Danish fur found in Noma chosen because they are a by-product of sustainable wallaby meat production. Select Danish details complete the narrative, including furniture from Carl Hansen and textiles from Kvadrat.

Summarising Noma Australia’s interior fit-out, Redzepi says, “It’s very different from our space in Copenhagen, yet it has our DNA in it. In collaboration with our partners we’ve succeeded in getting a distinct Australian-ness embedded into the walls.” In all, a striking design that communicates the Noma philosophy within an Australian context.

 

Noma Restaurant Pop-Up at Barangaroo Sydney by Foolscap Studio | Yellowtrace

Noma Restaurant Pop-Up at Barangaroo Sydney by Foolscap Studio | Yellowtrace

Noma Restaurant Pop-Up at Barangaroo Sydney by Foolscap Studio | Yellowtrace

Noma Restaurant Pop-Up at Barangaroo Sydney by Foolscap Studio | Yellowtrace

 

We asked Adele Winteridge a few questions about her experience with Noma and here’s what she had to say.

+ Your favourite thing about this project?

EVERYTHING! We loved working on this project. My favourite element was the kitchen – we worked very closely with Thomas Frebel, one of the four test kitchen chefs, whom when we got to Copenhagen had taken pieces of furniture from around the food lab to map out our design for the kitchen – millimetre by millimetre. Together we worked out where all the equipment would be, heights for cabinets and the like, in this simulated kitchen in Copenhagen.

+ Most challenging aspect?

Time and budget. The floor was a hard one to perfect as it is a hand rendered product. We also believe that the flooring went in too early in the build programme, and it needed to be protected from large equipment like fork lifts for the duration of the build.

+ What did you learn during the project?

If you are honest and truly believe in what you do then you will succeed.

+ Would you have done anything differently?

It is hard to say what we would have done differently. There are elements that were value managed out of the scheme, or some still in that were constructed differently. The largest disappointment for all of us is that we are still waiting on a large woven hanging “screen” that has been commissioned for the restaurant (and for Rene to take back to Copenhagen). It is collaborative piece by the Elcho Weavers and Koskela. Unfortunately as the community had ‘death and illness’ the piece was unable to be completed by opening – however it is underway and we are excited to see the beautiful piece completed.

+ Any interesting/ funny/ quirky facts you could share with us?

When we met with Rene initially we gave him a “bush tukka” book – and he was looking through and said oh look a “Goooanna”, in a Danish/English accent, and we corrected him with “Gowanna” (which must have sounded very Australian to him) and he forever-after snuck up behind us and said “GOWANNA” in his best Australian accent.

 

Noma Restaurant Pop-Up at Barangaroo Sydney by Foolscap Studio | Yellowtrace

Noma Restaurant Pop-Up at Barangaroo Sydney by Foolscap Studio | Yellowtrace


[Images courtesy of Lendlease.]

 

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