The BarreClient:

Arts Centre Melbourne


Early in 2015 Arts Centre Melbourne made the decision to refresh Curve Bar to ensure it remained contemporary within the suite of Arts Centre Melbourne’s food and beverage offer. There were particular improvements concerning access, visibility and visitor comfort that required alteration but the primary driver for change was to ensure it remained relevant in the current dining options around Melbourne and particularly the arts precinct. A name change to The Barre was part of the renewal process. Providing all visitors and arts industry workers with a memorable experience was considered essential to the overall success of the project.

Working closely with the client, operator and Clare Cousins Architects we were able to provide a lighting scheme for The Barre that was multifaceted and resolved around three main design concepts:

  • Luminaire selections based on those using metals and finishes reminiscent of a subterranean glint and gleam of metallic seams in the geological strata. The beguiling mystery of the earth’s core reflected in the metal finishes echoes the visions of Roy Grounds and John Truscott in terms of the excavation of the site and the original interior design concepts and scenic walls for Arts Centre Melbourne
  • The provision of Australian/Victorian designed and manufactured luminaires wherever possible throughout the space, complementing the Australian designed furniture selected by Clare Cousins Architects and the use of upcycled materials such as the wooden floors from the Hamer Hall stage on the floor of the main bar area. We are proud of ensuring such a strong local contribution to the design and feel it to be entirely appropriate for Arts Centre Melbourne to be a showcase for Australian craft and skill.
  • A flexible lighting design able to accommodate varying seating/ table arrangements as well as illuminating rotating art works on selected walls from the Arts Centre Melbourne’s collection. The lighting design was required to be highly functional in the work zones, be convivial for post-work and daytime activities and cater for exclusive arts events before and after performances.

We designed the lighting in areas , linked together by a central spine of recessed fittings in a black finish, as a unifying theme. As a team we were dedicated to a design which would offer an individual treatment in each part of the bar according to its function; pendants were used in the entrance area to create glimmer but also to entice visitors from the entrance foyers; golden velvet booths had warm spherical globes on black pivotable arms wall mounted for intimacy and interest; the main bar walls were studded with reflective, metallic luminaires suggestive of dressing room mirror lights.   The gentle arcs of circles and curves are predominant, softening the use of black finishes and harder surfaces such as marble and concrete.