Art Deco-inspired restaurant in Melbourne

The iconic Art Deco architecture provided Ewert Leaf with the perfect platform to explore creative design solutions of Moonhouse restaurant in Melbourne.

Given the cuisine of the restaurant was to be Chinese, research was done into the Art Deco movement of the 1920s in Shanghai as well as modern Chinese architecture which ultimately inspired the sweeping curves that form the kitchen envelope and ceiling features.


This blend of exciting synergies between, the menu, drinks, atmosphere, ambiance, and sound to create a memorable and truly sensorial experience for the diner. The design solution was to reflect Commune Group’s personality and aspirations as experimental restaurateurs.

The curved forms were further extenuated by the use of tiles, a material not commonly reserved for ceilings. The layering of unique materials to create contrast between texture and color, hard and soft. The hammered glass sits in harmony with textured tiles, whilst vinyl and onyx clad horizontal surfaces. The prevalent use of burnt, golden orange, or ‘duck skin’ as we like to call it was inspired by the colour of roast duck.

Ewert Leaf wanted to explore various degrees of transparency, revealing the movement and action of the kitchen through coloured, textured glass and strategic cut outs whilst also ensuing intimacy for nearby diners. The kitchen pass is a hub of activity and allows for a connection between the chef and the diner. They felt it appropriate to celebrate the pass through the creation of a portal. The curved metalwork is a nod to classic Art Deco architecture and the louvers to both the streets of Hong Kong and Firebird (a Commune Group restaurant). The warm orange tone, borderline sepia was custom created and matched to the other elements in the space including velvet banquettes, vinyl, onyx, and powder coat trims. The kitchen is the focal point of the restaurant and they felt its presence needed to be both seen and experienced.

Images by Jack Lovel via ArchDaily

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