Last year Studio Y was presented with a humble brief: to create the next best restaurant in the world. Our clients wanted to take the most exciting elements of the Melbourne design, food and beverage industry and inject them into the cultural district of Foshan, China.
So we let our imaginations run wild and created The Locksmith – an intensely stylized and conceptual three-story restaurant, cocktail and beer garden. But everything is not as it seems.
Entering from the ground floor, The Locksmith is sophisticated and traditional, but as you make your way upwards the interior personality starts to change. The cocktail bar on the first floor is moodier and more enigmatic and drenched in lush velvets, ghoulish fixtures and eclectic props. By the time you’ve completely surrendered to The Locksmith’s charm, you enter the rooftop garden where animals run wild amidst overgrown vines, brass monkeys and floral motifs.
Our clients granted us the freedom to design without concern for Chinese cultural norms. They wanted something you could find in Melbourne, New York or London. In spite of this it was challenging to get initial approval for some elements that were integral to the concept, such as the idea of unisex bathrooms. In the end they trusted our vision and we created powder rooms that are extensions of the dream-like state of the rest of the space instead of just a series of water closets.
For a venue this decadent and palatial, it may be surprising to note that The Locksmith is also sustainable and as self-sufficient as possible. Along with baking their own bread and smoking their own meats, The Locksmith boasts 100 rooftop herb and vegetable garden beds, all of which is used by the international talent making magic in the kitchen.