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Interior Design: Earl Canteen

June 21, 2011

Russell and George deliver a simple, sleek fitout for Melbourne’s Earl Canteen.

The Earl Canteen store is one part of a complete branded experience. Of primary importance is the offering. The philosophy is simple: good quality organic ingredients, simply and interestingly prepared and served. The venue’s name is derived from “The Earl of Sandwich” and the concept was to create restaurant-quality meals and serve them between quality breads, effectively filling the gap between a cafe and restaurant.

The architectural response called for a number of simple, basic elements, combined to create a recognisable brand that can be rolled out simply and easily, and deliver a look that expresses the aspirations of the brand.

The main philosophy behind the store was that all aspects needed to be cleanly detailed, simple and unpretentious. Services were to be concealed where possible, and the kitchen had to be open so patrons were part of the experience of food preparation. Earl is positioned in an undercroft space painted entirely in black – a setting that would usually be problematic for retail/food businesses as they become hidden. The solution came in the form of light. A series of white bars, internally illuminated with LED, wrap the occupant in a soft, warm glow and provide Earl with a signifying element that can be repeated in future stores. The same is true of the Earl sign, a 1.2m high stack of letters, internally illuminated in Earl’s signature green. Both of these elements ultimately make the interior of the store part of the urban fabric, like a three dimensional shopfront.

*Team* Byron George, Ryan Russell

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