“Mr Big Stuff, who do you think you are? You wear all those fancy clothes and have a big fine car,” sang Jean Knight.
This new restaurant and bar located in Meyers Place, Melbourne shares its name with the iconic song ‘Mr Big Stuff’ from the 1970’s and sets the tone for both the food offering and the space itself.
The concept was born over a few friends sharing some drinks and conservation about their common love of American culture and hip-hop. After countless discussions of food and music, the five boys decided what the Melbourne food scene was missing, was some serious food for the soul.
Mr Big Stuff takes a unique approach to Southern American soul food and brings it to the Melbourne market. To match, the space got a complete overhaul by Techne Architecture + Interior Design. The new design pays homage to the owners concept, naturally inspired by American music and film culture from funk to old school hip-hop, which was re-interpreted in a contemporary way that is relevant to Melbourne.
“Like all our projects, this project is defined by the unique collaboration between us, the clients and the graphic designers. It responds to the brief where the clients were looking for a ‘Melbourne’ version of Southern Amercian soul food blended with particular music and film references,” said Nick Travers of Techne.
Faced with limited natural light, the challenge for Techne was to expand the sense of space and bring daylight into the dining room. Utilising the existing kitchen, bar equipment, bathrooms and heating and cooling system, enabled Nick Travers and his design team to focus their attention on the patron areas for maximum effect.
The result is an intimate restaurant that only seats 53 people and will serve soul food and beverages. The Southern American vibe creates a main point of interest for the restaurant, with a DJ and music component added to the dining and bar experience.
With the help of graphic design studio Can I Play the funky interior is accented by a warm palette of reds, yellows and oranges and brought to life by triangular fins displaying custom artworks of African American culture.
“There are lots of surprising elements like the duality of the graphics on the V shaped bulkhead over the bar, the pyramidal acoustic foam wall paneling around the DJ booth and the ‘Token Neon Sign’ in the bathroom,” says Travers.
The feature pyramid foam wall creates the perfect backdrop for enjoying some funky sounds and flavour in the right acoustic environment, where you’re guaranteed to enjoy some food for the soul.