Workshop Brothers

Glen Waverley

Workshop Brothers is a brand that celebrates its Chinese origins. The core values of the three owners; family, heritage and togetherness, are the standout elements of this eatery’s success and unique position in Melbourne’s competitive hospitality landscape. The Glen Waverley site personifies these values via the restoration of a dilapidated space, into an all-day eatery inspired by the playful clichés and nostalgic memories of retro Chinese eateries. 

The client brief sought to create a dining experience that seamlessly transitions from day to night, through a design language that celebrates the contemporary Asian menu. Drawing upon the Chinese symbolism of the circular motif, a series of ply openings divide the elongated tenancy into dining, bar and B.O.H zones, creating a gradual unravelling of the design, framing views and drawing focus to the heart of the space; the communal dining table. The ideology behind food as a unifying force between heritage and family is heavily reflected through the design, specifically through this use of symbolism, which references the idea of togetherness, oneness and perfection to further signify the client’s core values.  

The patron experience is aesthetically addressed via a sophisticated palette of pink and plum, a modern translation of the traditional Chinese red and gold. Custom brass light fixtures, bespoke joinery and bold contrasting textures introduce a retro playfulness into the design aesthetic. Opposed to unnecessary embellishment, the design response is simple, refined but rich and layered with a conceptual rationale, challenging past perceptions of the retro Chinese restaurant experience, whilst elevating its significance in uniting people through food.

Photography by Tessa Ross-Phelan