The interior design of shopping malls is often a matter of the prevailing trend: what was all the rage during a mall’s construction appears outdated and out-of-place just a few years later. Instead of crowds of visitors there is a gaping emptiness, and an entirely new design is required to make shoppers feel at ease again. This was the task facing Australian architecture firm Lucchetti Krelle. For the renovation of the “Food Court” at the MLC Centre in Sydney however, they chose not to base their designs on short-lived trends, but rather to use a varied mix of premium and natural materials along with color-stained chairs from Zeitraum.
The MLC Centre is an imposing high-rise built in 1975. The concrete structure with its octagonal floor plan – every bit a child of its time, a play on the design language of brutalism – was the creation of architect Harry Seidler, a student of Walter Gropius, who had already caused a stir among Australians in 1950 with his futuristic “Rose Seidler House” in Wahroonga.
Over a total of 67 floors, the MLC Centre offers space for offices, a theatre and a shopping mall at ground level. In 2015, Stuart Krelle and Rachel Luchetti redesigned the Food Court of this shopping mall: wood-clad ceilings, ambiance lighting and cozy dining booths with tables made of solid wood ensure a sense of comfort in the ring-shaped atrium, without this clashing with the raw concrete charm of the MLC Centre.
The varied combination of benches, chairs and tables in differing sizes offers guests the possibility of choosing between a number of different seating arrangements. Particularly inviting are the square high tables, which the Australian design duo decided to surround with colorful bar stools from Zeitraum. They chose the slender seating from the “1.3 Bar” line in natural oak, combined with the version in fresh salmon pink. The latter represents a cunning development by the manufacturer, which makes use of an elaborate staining procedure to bring the features of the natural material to the fore despite the coloration: The surfaces are appealing thanks to their semi-transparent look, which still reveals the natural structure of the wood – like the grain or knots – in spite of the coloration. “Our aim was to create an interplay with the coloration without hiding what Zeitraum stands for: wood!”, explains Birgit Gämmerler, Managing Director of the company. Zeitraum offers a total of ten color-stained variations on a base of oak, including five grey tones, chalk white and four decorative colors. (sb)
The MLC Centre in Sydney, Australia, was designed by architect Harry Seidler and incorporates office space, a theatre and a shopping mall, making it an international meeting place for business people and tourists alike. Photo © Michael Wee
Time for a break: The architectural duo of Stuart Krelle and Rachel Luchetti breathed new life into the Food Court using prime materials and furniture from Zeitraum. Photo © Michael Wee
Raw charm and fresh colors in the atrium: A combination of exposed concrete and wood, delicate wire chairs in white and turquoise, and bar stools from the “1.3 Bar” line is sure to keep boredom at bay. Photo © Michael Wee
A feast for the eyes: The 1.3 Bar in the “natural oak” version, combined with a color-stained variation in salmon pink, tempts guests to take a seat at the high table. Photo © Michael Wee
A transparent look thanks to a cunning idea: The new version is the result of an elaborate staining process which leaves the wood’s natural structure visible. Photo © Michael Wee