Traditional Custodians of the land
Bunurong Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung peoples of the Eastern Kulin Nation
dB(A))) Internal Esquisse
Rocco Esposito Bar Rosella
(MOVID))) was an internal virtual esquisse devised by dB(A) Associate Lillian Le, to explore how we can reorient outdoor dining to thrive in a post-lockdown Melbourne. As with all of our internal esquisses, the only rules were that they needed to be (exceptional) and of the nature of dB(A).
If nothing else, 2020 has given us a lot of thinking time. How can we do things differently – and better? Not only as we contemplate emerging from our tiny bubbles into the wider community (hopefully this summer), but also into the future. The idea of working long-term from home was once deemed virtually impossible, yet here we are six months down the track not only doing it – we are innovating, we are adapting and we are solving the problems we encounter in real time and with fresh perspective.
Going back to the way things were isn’t an option. All those unwritten rules around work, rest and play long forgotten. Everything has shifted – it’s liberating and significant.
Melbourne is arguably the food and events capital of Australia and our hospitality industry has been doing it harder than most during this pandemic. There are lots of fantastic ideas out there designed to kick-start, maintain and improve this vital industry (many already in play) from new outdoor furniture that allows for social distancing, outdoor dining and picnics using public spaces such as carparks and streets or laneways and many, many more.
dB(A))) have focused our creative energies on some very interesting solutions to these issues – often problem solving outside these parameters because that’s what we do. Here are just a few of our ideas. Yes – we have more. Lots more.
A very special thank you to Rocco Esposito (Bar Rosella) for his support and insightful contributions to this esquisse.
Teams presented remotely via zoom and were assessed on innovation, adaptability and how well their proposals responded directly to either a specific or more general problem currently facing the hospitality industry as they seek support to operate in safely in post-lockdown Melbourne (and beyond). The approach could be conventional or outside the box.
MOVID’s innovative water hub “Flotilla” is proposed as a permanent and exciting new floating solution to our changing outdoor dining conditions. Designed to seat up to 150 patrons in refined, socially distanced comfort, Flotilla is customisable, suitable for our beautiful Melbourne waterways and designed to ensure COVID safe dining in Melbourne’s innovative and sophisticated food scene.
The pathways for servers run towards the centre of the hub/kitchen and are separate to the walkways of patrons to the outer of the space. Each pod is circular giving a feeling of intimate connection to the water and pods vary in size from an intimate two-person table to a larger six person berth. There are bathrooms to either side and a central kitchen/servery. The structure itself is light and elegant and will demonstrate the very best in COVID-safe and sustainable materials & technology.
This multi-functional space can easily repurposed up for alternative events such as an outdoor cinema experience, one off corporate or private events or any one of the many exciting events in Melbourne’s calendar. Options for Melbourne’s volatile weather have also been considered.
MOVID’s Street+Art team have been working on a solution to this problem that also activates our incredible local artists – also hit hard by the effects of COVID-19. This idea offers creative and dynamic proposals for customisable, typically ‘Melbourne’ graphic outdoor dining blueprints. Suitable for all outdoor areas, each design promotes COVID safe dining and is in keeping with Melbourne’s famous street scene and diverse communities. Street+Art will also offer a unique and personalised canvas for each venue’s outdoor space.
We can see the potential for this to become a permanent fixture and draw-card for returning patrons which builds on Melbourne’s well recognised position as the street art capital of Australia.
The MOVID – Street+Art blueprint comprises, not simply graphic templates for seating and way-finding, but also lighting and weather solutions which really enhance the outdoor street dining experience.
MOVID – Street+Art blueprint is malleable and can be used to expand or reduce designated spaces. This gives any venue control and definition of their own space – whether it be a car park expansion, median strip, or the footpath – and use existing infrastructure, keeping costs to a minimum.
There is no doubt that Melbourne is going through some unprecedented times, what a perfect opportunity to rethink our streetscapes and how we use them!
MOVID’s Street Eats Festival is a model to re-open Melbourne this summer. Inspired from the Singaporean “Hawker Hall’s”, the idea is to convert parts of the Melbourne CBD into assemble and pack-up semi-permanent outdoor dining to revitalise and boost the hospitality trade, in our return to COVID-safe normal.
The design is a semi-permanent modular unit that finishes flush and commandeers the exact dimensions of the standard car spot. The unit becomes a platform that opens a new possibility to shared outdoor dining. The design incorporates new thinking in the attachments, allowing restaurant owners to customise as they see fit to suit their business.
‘It’s the picnic principle. Things Taste Better Outdoors’ – Franny Billingsley
‘Nothing is better than a picnic’ – Zooey Deschanel
‘A picnic is more than eating a meal, it’s a pleasure state of mind’ – Deedee Stovel
‘There are few things so pleasant as a picnic eaten in perfect comfort’ W. Somerset Maugham
With indoor dining and drinking off-limits for the time-being, a pathway into the light has been recognised by Melbourne council authorities: socially-distanced al-fresco dining.
Reports from some European countries suggest that, despite lower active COVID cases and the easing of lockdown restrictions, many people remain anxious about returning to social environments. With this in mind, Decibel Architecture have been pondering what would bring anxious citizens back to the streets and kick start the much bruised and battered hospitality industry.
It became apparent to us, that the missing ingredients required to solve this conundrum could be summarised in one word…
Drawing on the planning research and resulting proposal from our colleagues at Ratio Consultants, and the joy and radicalism of recent social phenomenon, ‘Park(ing) Day’, we have proposed an occupation of the parking spaces that line most high streets. Bordered by nature-filled planters and lined with astro-turf, restauranteurs can arrange furniture to suit their requirements, and support neighbouring businesses with by featuring products and services throughout the picnic precinct.
“FOLD-SAFARI aims to achieve two goals, activate the metropolitan food festival scene, and encourage environmentally conscious design. Using a two-phase approach to outdoor design, FOLD-SAFARI offers venues design approaches utilising existing infrastructure and furniture solutions for flexible spaces.
FOLD – Provides collapsible, water-resistant recycled seating to restaurants and cafes. These can be used for the temporary reopening of Melbourne streets and lanes to restaurants who cannot maintain a functioning restaurant while under the indoor and proximity restrictions. The collapsible cardboard seating is compact when not in use, flexible in the way it can be programmed, and recycled back into pulp once restrictions are eased and normal trading resumes.
SAFARI – Provides parks and public spaces with temporary event kitchen facilities to allow restaurants to showcase the best of Melbourne cooking and outdoor dining. This approach looks to help activate the event hire industry through the hire of goods, as well as utilising various parkland and open spaces around Melbourne. The SAFARI approach maintains appropriate distance while allowing clientele to enjoy social interaction and scenery.
FOLD-SAFARI gives leading Melbourne restaurants the exciting opportunity to entice clientele into a new sphere, while encouraging up and coming restaurants to develop and showcase their own profile and talents.
Melbourne is on its way into recovery, returning to a place that offers many dining options to its visitors – whether they would like to enjoy fine dining, or simply a hot cup of coffee in a cosy laneway restaurant.
This pandemic has left many of us wanting our food culture back more than ever.
Fundamentally, it is a challenge between the eagerness to get back to normal life and controlling the spread of the pandemic. Our project questions current solutions for controlling COVID-19 like 1.5m social distance and dining together with masks on and off.
We understand the complexity of an airborne pandemic and have tried to find an architectural solution to visualise and control airflow to avoid the spreading of COVID-19 among people when dining together. Using lighting design and applying colours to the ‘foggy’ environment, we have created an interesting experience of dining together without masks.