How do you convey the concept of “femininity” into an interior space?
Architect Pete Kennon of P-E-K STUDIO approached the design team at Profile, which makes custom-designed furniture from its Collingwood Studio, to bring this brief to life in Yukie's Snack Bar, Mr Miyagi’s new adjoining bar in Windsor.
The “more feminine”, extension of the space will be a stark contrast to the original, two-year-old den’s dark timbers, hard lines, concrete and dim lighting. Profile’s handmade pieces will soften the rectangular bones of the warehouse with finer, sensuous details.
John Foley of Profile says portraying masculinity in furniture is usually about angular design; you often see square legs and strong detail. Feminine design tends to have soft lines and curves. “It’s something really tactile. You basically want to hold onto the pieces.”
“There are curves in every element of what we’re producing for this project,” Foley says. “We’ve incorporated the theme into our knowledge of production, materials and what we can achieve through detail.”
He explains that there are strong Japanese motifs throughout the woodwork. The back legs of the chairs, for example, are shaped like the scabbard of a samurai’s katana sword, tapering to a point at the end.
Profile has also looked to the craft of Japanese production methods to inform the joinery used for the stools, tables and chairs. “Japanese furniture craftspeople are among some of the best in the world. They are true artisans in everything they do. And though we are manufacturers, we’ve tried to celebrate traditional production techniques through crafted detail as a continuous narrative,” Foley says.
Mr Miyagi’s new adjoining venue will be “not particularly a bar, and certainly not a restaurant” but something in between, says co-owner, Kristian Klein.
Earlier this year, when Klein and his business partner Andy Restein first engaged P-E-K Studio to execute the design concept and interior fit-out, Kennon, coincidentally, was about to travel to Japan. It was during this trip that the country’s intriguing love industry caught his attention.
“It’s the largest declining population in the world,” Kennon says. “They're not interested in getting married; they're interested in fun and being cheeky.” Cue “snack bars”, where (mostly) male patrons pay for conversation with female bar staff – just one of the influences behind the Miyagi extension.
It’s this idea of the modern geisha, paired with the team’s new take on The Karate Kid love triangle between Miyagi, his best friend Sato, and Sato’s girlfriend, that has generated a lady friend for Mr M. “We’ve created a mistress character to join the story,” Kennon says.
The bar will be split over two levels, with those elements of cheekiness and femininity conveyed through “subtle, pared-back and defiant design”.
Kennon has channelled the kaleidoscopic, loud visuals of Mario Testino’s Street Style Obsession shoot for Vogue Japan into the fit-out. “These give you a great feel for the culture and the type of personality we want to bring into this space.”
On the food front, patrons can expect that same level of modern, playful Japanese eating, with snatches of Korean and other intriguing flavour pairings on the new menu. “We're still going to have the same style of food, albeit in a snackier form,” Klein says.
He says the cocktail list will double, keeping crowd favourites from Mr Miyagi and pushing the boundaries on new concoctions. “We’re still in the process of working them out, but they’re pretty extreme – that’s all I can tell you right now.”
Yukie's Snack Bar will open on Tuesday December 15.
Profile has supplied furniture for Broadsheet’s office. Broadsheet is a proud supporter of this Melbourne-based maker and its work.