Kitty vs Burns

January 3, 2017

(Australia) – Biasol: Design Studio used Kitty against Burns to bring together two girls that inspired Melbourne’s iconic Skipping Girl in a structured yet playful restaurant.

Nestled below Melbourne’s iconic Skipping Girl sign, restaurant group Pell Five’s Kitty Burns combines both the tranquillity of the Yarra River with the quirkiness that remains key to both Melbourne design and dining. Kitty Burns allowed Australian design firm Biasol: Design Studio to combine their experience in interior, product and branding design to create a unique space and character for the restaurant.

Inspired by the Skipping Girl story Kitty Burns’ interior design reflects the character of five-year-old Kitty Minogue whom the original figure was modelled off, and Alma Burns who was later also attributed to the sign. The contrasting elements of the Kitty Burns personality are creatively woven into every design element – Kitty’s fun loving, playful personality juxtaposed with Burns’ more serious and structured side.

Pell Five’s brief was fairly open from a conceptual point of view; their main objectives were to take advantage of the sites surroundings, respond to their business as an all day eatery and be highly functional in operation. Biasol: Design Studio wanted to establish Kitty Burns as a home away from home for the residents of the Haven apartment complex; a pitched roof design was incorporated into all elements of the project.

Biasol: Design Studio Principal Jean-Pierre Biasol tells darc: “We played with both scale and displacement of the roofs, forming a 3D effect that we utilised to create intimacy throughout the various dining spaces. The home concept was also carried through into the brand identity we created for Kitty Burns.”

These pitched roofs also played on the Kitty vs Burns theme, where Burns brings in the physical structure and clean lines, closer inspection reveals that each pitch is at a different height, paying homage to Kitty’s playful side. The lime washed timber bulkheads forming the house shape above the dining areas are lined with 3D cladding detail, allowing natural light to create a shadowing effect, changing the colour of the timber depending on how much light comes through.

Two main areas of the bar include the coffee bar and the elixir bar, individually housed within framework that ensures each area is distinctly identifiable, aiding on a practical level with ordering and service. The bar is lined with handmade pale turquoise tiles framed by a strong overhead structure constructed from Australian natural timbers. Kitty’s light-hearted theme is reflected in Biasol: Design Studio’s bespoke pendants that hang down through the bar’s timber frame, and are suspended all around the venue at varying heights above tables and elsewhere, creating a sense of unity between spaces. The coffee bar features a waiting area as well as a mobile coffee cart that echoes the design language of the main bar.

Each element of the design was considered in the context of the space, with the custom designed and manufactured pendant lights conveying both the playful and serious sides of the brand most effectively. Biasol commented: “The light fittings were created in copper and white tones, both sympathetic to the overall colour palette of the space. Each light was created in two parts allowing us to mix and match for a playful finish.” Throughout the overall outcome of Kitty Burns, the lighting design was carefully considered to create a strong atmosphere, whilst trying to maintain the balance between natural light that fills the space, giving it an open and airy feeling.

With tranquil surroundings and view of Melbourne’s iconic Yarra River, Biasol: Design Studio took advantage of that tranquillity to create comfort and a sense of serenity.
“We introduced a strong element of greenery inside to embrace the surroundings, making the dining spaces feel one with the environment. It was important for us that the space would never compete with its surroundings. When you look at the Kitty Burns interior, it really flows into the exterior, and vice versa.”

Fusing mischief with structure, frivolity with discipline, Kitty Burns embodies the iconic Skipping Girl woman in one light-filled space.

Kitty Burns, Abbostford - Biasol Design Studio. Photo © Ari Hatzis