Asian diner chain Light Years has renovated its flagship restaurant in the bustling Australian surf town of Byron Bay, with interiors conceived by local practice Studio Plenty in collaboration with a group of home-grown artists and designers.
The team behind Light Years wanted to mirror the playful visual identity established across its three other venues on Australia’s East Coast while refining and elevating their aesthetic.
“We were asked to reimagine the Byron Bay restaurant, taking cues from its sister diners but with greater restraint in composition,” Studio Plenty founder Will Rathgeber told Dezeen.
“We were looking to achieve something refined without letting go of the relaxed culture behind the brand, with satisfying colours and patterns, and playful shapes and materials.”
Soft corners and gently curving walls help to create a sense of intimacy, according to Rathgeber, while the restaurant’s colour palette of soft pink and terracotta tones “embraces you like a warm hug”.
Underpinning the playful feel of the eatery is a careful focus on the practicalities, with arched openings and material thresholds helping to define three distinct spaces – the main dining room, a curved bar with counter seating and a private dining area for larger groups.
The restaurant’s material palette incorporates handmade terracotta tiles with a rustic brushed finish and a rusty colour that is also picked up in the restaurant’s floors and the Fibonacci terrazzo bar counter.
In the main dining room, the ceiling was treated with an acoustic spray to absorb sound while contributing to the earthy, vernacular look of the diner thanks to its bumpy texture.
Since the acoustic spray does not adhere to pipes, Studio Plenty specified a motorbike exhaust wrap for the pipes to achieve a harmonious ceiling plane.
In the bar area, ceilings are clad in rattan acoustic panels by local product designer and interior stylist Sarah Ellison, who also worked with Studio Plenty to design the restaurant’s custom furniture including the chunky tables and bistro-style chairs.
Artist collective Studio of the Sun created two colourful murals for the restaurant, with one featuring playful illustrations laser-printed onto a section of glossy white tiles.
“The client was committed to a locally focussed project, hence approaching Studio Plenty to design the restaurant and Sarah Ellison and Studio of the Sun to collaborate,” said Rathgeber.
Rathgeber founded his Byron Bay practice in 2020 after cutting his teeth working for architecture firms Woods Bagot and Jackson Clements Burrows in Melbourne.
“We believe happiness is achieved through sensible design, not excess,” he explained of his studio’s ethos. “We have an appetite for rational design and an obsession with functionalism.”
Elsewhere in Byron Bay’s bustling bar and restaurant scene, Australian studio Pattern has designed the interiors for an eatery serving South America-style small plates and cocktails.
Its patchy grey surfaces and concrete fixtures were designed to reflect the “raw beauty” of late-night eateries in Mexico.
The photography is by Jessie Prince.
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