Adelaide’s latest bar and dining room, Arkhé, responds to the ritual of cooking over fire through the ephemeral nature of time and decay. Designed by local practice Studio Gram, time-worn objects and natural materials have been utilised to create a wonderful sense of balance that, in turn, captures the beauty of everyday life.
The studio took inspiration from the colours and textures of nature, with a focus on imperfections—frayed fabrics, worn ceramics, knots in wood and wrinkles in linen are all celebrated throughout the interior.
The original site came with a level change spanning from the entry to the rear courtyard, along with an elongated corridor like connection from the entry to the rear of the site. The team took this as an opportunity to create three distinct and simple zones—the lounge, dining room and the courtyard.
Like an ombre procession of light to dark, the lounge is the darkest and moodiest space, setting the tone for the dining experience as you enter. With textured walls and burnt orange sconces framing the room, guests can enjoy a seat at the bar, within the front entrance courtyard or settle into the weathered timber banquette seats with navy leather upholstery.
The dining room wraps the kitchen, with seating elements along the bar offering a spot for diners to be entranced by the fire laden kitchen. Booths are intersected by a ramp that connects the entry-level to the dining room while above subtle light filters overhead via well-placed skylights. The team chose to display the kitchen space rather than hide it away. Here, timber joinery is used in place of stainless steel, oozing a welcome warmth akin to a domestic kitchen.
Background to the restaurant is the green oasis of the courtyard, peeping out through circular windows and black lined french doors, the yin to the dark lounge’s yang. It offers diners a post meal retreat space, somewhere to enjoy the warmth of the sun through the summer months and the smell of the fire through the winter months.
The organic nature of the fit out is always in flux, the reflective polished plaster deviates from warm whites to smoky blacks. The sculpted service stations appear as volcanic remnants that were dropped into place. The weathered timber sleepers create an escape from time, with the only refinement being offered through seating elements and draped leather upholstery.
The space conjures memories, appearing as if it has always been there.