Alfred & Constance
Tuesday 06 May 2014
Completed in November 2012, Alfred & Constance features two old Queenslander homes adjacent to Brisbane’s nightlife precinct, Fortitude Valley. The idea was founded on a multi-faceted venue with various themed bars catering for ‘individual tribes’. The design intended to explore the predetermined architecture of the building, and vintage character of both houses.
The project’s design-led thinking approach was to create a venue that oozed intimacy, but encouraged wonder, discovery, and other very important aspects of a well-designed and considered night venue. The core attitude that Alfred & Constance was brought to life with was that this venue needed to remove you from your daily life, and create an Alice in Wonderland like experience, similar to a hidden venue that draws in different people, allowing them to meet.
The project explored many possibilities in terms of treating the site as an entertainment precinct including gastro pub and themed restaurant, highlighting the seven different areas of the venue. The client insisted on a highly visual, rich interior, with the design conceived more as a theatre play than a traditional process, basically staging the venue.
By creating the stage, the intention was to highlight ‘the actors’ (the customers). It was a very playful approach to night venue design, and highly curated through aesthetics, flow and practicality of the site.
The distinction of this project lay in the initiation of a new precinct of entertainment, an attempt to de-centralise the Fortitude valley area. More important than any budget, would be creating alternatives for customers and revitalising a once run down neighbouring area.
Ninety-five percent of the venue was designed sourcing second hand and vintage goods, with the objective being to create an immediate welcoming and homely feel that fitted with the architecture, whilst highlighting the place as both trendy and environmentally responsive. The material strategy based itself on using all the timber on site, aiming for a zero waste mentality. This strategy ultimately explored cost effective solutions whilst still enhancing the interior aesthetic, exemplifying good, sustainable practice.
Having to conform to heritage-listed guidelines was not only a challenge, but lent the architects an opportunity to take an informed design approach from this site constraint, allowing restoration of the rich architecture of the Constance Street house, both internally and externally.
The interior design approach was holistic. It wasn’t just an interior design project; rather, it was about everything creative including working with the branding and marketing team on how to highlight the different areas of the venue. The unique thing about this project was that it wasn’t the usual design strategy. Derlot wanted to highlight a creative approach to design and everything else that comes with a venue of this kind.