The West by Studio Gram

Founded by Graham Charbonneau and Dave Bickmore, Studio Gram is an emerging practice that is producing projects that are collaboratively crafted and artfully considered. The design team set out to create compelling architecture that offers the inhabitants an experience that feels familiar, yet surprising.

The West cocktail bar is a perfect example of Studio Gram’s ethos and has become a destination for residents of Henley Beach. We spoke to the creative team behind the mid-century-inspired cocktail bar about the design, material choices and challenges.

Can you describe the brief for The West?

The brief was fairly open-ended in terms of its aesthetic. The client wanted to bring a high-end cocktail bar to the beach, but the aesthetic direction was left in our hands.

The West embodies an ‘old school’, classic feel. Can you discuss the design intent behind this?

The aesthetic was certainly driven by a love of all things mid-century. We like to work in narrative, where we create a concise paragraph that drives the overall direction of the venue. It serves as the design intent and hopefully also becomes the take away for anyone that visits our projects.

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The narrative developed for this project reads as follows: High-end downtime reminiscent of mid-century California. Warm walnut interiors softened with touches of green velvet, invites users to wait and watch with a cocktail, as the light dances on the horizon and the sunset on another day. You’d be forgiven for overstaying your booking.

What drew you to using Bluestone Crazy Paving in both the internal and external spaces?

Crazy Paving is about as mid-century as it gets for us. It has a beautiful material quality, that can seamlessly transition from inside to outside. It can endure the pounding that a good bar takes, whilst withstanding the test of time. It is perfectly imperfect.

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What were the key wins on this project?

Walnut was the big win for us. It is an expensive timber, so it is difficult to get it to stack up on a project. However, the tonal variety and the depth of grain can not be replicated with anything else. It was a huge win to get it over the line on this project.

Were there any challenges realising the design?

It is a very tight site with a beautiful, but small balcony. It was challenging to create a space that could work irrespective of the weather, where users are happy to be inside or out.

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See more projects by Studio Gram here.

Built by: Built By Ben

Photographer: David Sievers