Bouzy Bar À Vin: French Wine Bar in Armadale by Brahman Perera | Yellowtrace

Bouzy Bar À Vin: French Wine Bar in Armadale by Brahman Perera | Yellowtrace

 

Conceived by Unashamed Francophiles, restaurateur Jason Jones (who has French lessons on Mondays), and interior designer Brahman Perera (who enjoys French wines every day), Bouzy Bar à Vins represents the progression of Melbourne‘s hospitality scene. “Gone are the days of special occasion dining and big meals. Instead, we see people wanting to dine out most nights, more casually and with less commitment,” says the duo.

Partners in life and in this project, Jason and Brahman believe that having ‘skin in the game’ influences the way in which they approach design. “It’s an incredible responsibility making a client’s vision a reality, and never more so than when the client is yourself; your family. The process becomes all-consuming, and of course, when you go home, the conversation continues! The saying goes ‘put your money where your mouth is’ and that’s exactly what we are doing.”

BOUZY references aspects of traditional French style – effortless, but detailed, incorporating old with new, and letting unique pieces complement one another. The architecture of the building informed one of the most integral parts of the design. Over-scaled brass framed windows allowed an unexpected, clear view into the entire space from the Arcade. Deep and imposing, the windows became the perfect niche for wine display. In stark contrast to the seemingly fragile jewellery case, raw blackened steel boxes fill the niche, with thin plate shelves floating within. The heaviness of the structure is somehow bizarrely made discreet when populated with multi-hued wine bottles and delicate glass vessels.

 

Bouzy Bar À Vin: French Wine Bar in Armadale by Brahman Perera | Yellowtrace

Bouzy Bar À Vin: French Wine Bar in Armadale by Brahman Perera | Yellowtrace

 

Timber banquettes line the windows and flank the walkway from Armadale train station through to High Street, enclosed by dramatic arched grates. Black and white cane bistro chairs – a classic that cannot be messed with – sit opposite Cote d’Azure blue cushions patterned with stripes and delicate hydrangea patterns.

Inside, the BOUZY bar takes centre stage. An elongated horseshoe, the high gloss lacquered form with a smoked mirror skirt creates the illusion of floating above the patterned floor. Dark grey terrazzo is studded with gold, red and pearl-shell aggregate, reminiscent of classic French terrine. The height and depth are friendly, slightly lower and deeper than standard bars, allowing the patrons to eat comfortably, and see the workings of the bar.

“The idea of the big bar was always in our minds – it’s a bar foremost, it should look like a bar, feel like a bar, be monolithic and sculptural in form. This idea began brewing about 8 years ago in Paris, at a bar called Le Petit Fer à Cheval. Tiny, crowded, in the Marais and typically French in the shape of a horse-shoe. Even the crowd was cliché, with a tipsy Hemingway-esque young man sketching next to us. Fast forward, and we came across the Kings Arcade in Armadale – a historic arcade brilliantly preserved, with an old milk-bar tenancy that was perfect for our bar.” Jackpot.

 

Bouzy Bar À Vin: French Wine Bar in Armadale by Brahman Perera | Yellowtrace

Bouzy Bar À Vin: French Wine Bar in Armadale by Brahman Perera | Yellowtrace

 

The typically grand European black and white marble floors found a more playful, ‘Melbourne’ look with a cue from the old milk-bar vernacular of vinyl-chequered floors; a nod to the building’s past. Inspired by the brief but memorable Memphis era of European design, the geometric shapes of the black and white vinyl form a tongue in cheek pattern that stretches under the bar and into the kitchen. “This decision was certainly the pinnacle of designer/hospitality operator compromise, with everyone happy with the end result, though perhaps not the poor tiler!” says Brahman.

At the entry, an ephemeral pleated silk gold curtain sways in salutation to each guest as they open the front door – a fun take on the traditional lace curtains in bistro windows adding a touch of theatre and personality. Directly above the bar, the curtain follows the curves, while the backlit effect creates a sort of whimsical, exaggerated lampshade.

Their taste for eclectic and unexpected design inspired the custom wall sconces for the bar. “We didn’t want to employ a ‘feature’ light that is instantly recognisable. Instead, we created simple discs of faceted glass, laminated with an amber gradient film, and fitted into simple steel brackets,” says the duo.

 

Bouzy Bar À Vin: French Wine Bar in Armadale by Brahman Perera | Yellowtrace

Bouzy Bar À Vin: French Wine Bar in Armadale by Brahman Perera | Yellowtrace

 

This almost-obsessive attention to detail doesn’t quite stop there. “As passionate foodies/ entertainers, the places we love are the ones with a real sense of personality – that is of personal taste, over anything that could be considered ‘in vogue’,” they explain. But it’s one thing to create your own private space in this way, and quite another to project the same notion within a public realm without alienating the customers. The concept of authenticity is how Brahman managed to achieve a coherent result, in which his and Jason’s personal style became the muse. To this end, many of the objects seen throughout the restaurant were sourced from travel abroad. The vintage telephone, Ricard water carafes and delicate crystal light shades all came over in their hand luggage from Aix en Provence five years ago. “Whilst there was no knowledge that this is where they would end up, we often buy pieces we think are truly unique, special, or that we just love – and enjoy layering our venues with this personal touch,” says the duo.

Kym Barter‘s arresting artwork graces the walls of the bar’s front section. “During the design process, we knew we wanted to source a single piece of dramatic art. We had seen Kym Barters work years ago in Kyneton, and always had her in mind for something special.” The idea for a ‘boozy’ Mona Lisa was inspired by the famous paintings the pair had seen in their travels, but also the lives they’ve both lived in different parts of the globe – Australia (Jason) and Sri Lanka (Brahman).

By looking at these images, it’s evident a lifetime of research, travel, passion and personal interests have paved the way for a sophisticated French Wine bar with a twist, taking pride of place all the way in Melbourne. I applaud them.

 

Bouzy Bar À Vin: French Wine Bar in Armadale by Brahman Perera | Yellowtrace

Bouzy Bar À Vin: French Wine Bar in Armadale by Brahman Perera | Yellowtrace

 


[Photography by Sharyn Cairns.]

 

About The Author

Dana Tomić Hughes
Founder & Editor
Google+

Dana is an award-winning interior designer living in Sydney, Australia. With an unhealthy passion for design, Dana commits to an abnormal amount of daily design research. Regular travel and attendance at premier design events, enables Dana to stay at the forefront of the design world globally. While she is super serious about design, Dana never takes herself - nor design - too seriously. Together with her life and business partner, Dana is Boss Lady at Studio Yellowtrace, specialising in Design Strategy, Creative Direction and Special Projects. The studio takes a highly conceptual and holistic approach to translating brands & ideas into places & experiences.

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