Ronnie Nights

Category: Hospitality

Location: Fremantle

Status: Completed 2018.

Project Team:

Michael Patroni

Dimmity Walker

Julia Kaptein

Project description:

Inspired by that fun-loving share house where you would party until dawn, Ronnie Nights is a series of four connected rooms, each with it’s own personality. Located on Fremantle’s cappuccino strip, this thrifty small bar pairs the existing heritage fabric with colourful, textured insertions, channeling 70’s Australiana.

Our brief was to celebrate novelty and create opportunities for surprise and delight through the composition of dynamic and playful spaces. Fish and chips, bicycles and an Indian restaurant twice over, modifications throughout the buildings lifespan presented a number of unique spatial opportunities. Working with this inherited condition, we re-planned and re-programmed the disconnected spaces creating varied environments around the centrally located bar. The design process was an exercise of thinking on our feet and working collaboratively with the client, builder, bartender and DJ to deliver the project in rapid time. Trusting that economy allows ambition, the project was realised with local labour and in-house skills, applying cost-effective, locally sourced building materials in unexpected ways. Throughout the venue, a curated mix of purchased, collected and custom designed furniture sits amongst plants, retro nostalgia and family photos found on site.

Our clients dreamt of an ever-changing venue capable of presenting at once an atmospheric lounge, a bustling bright disco, an intimate acoustic performance and a mid-week rock show. A yellow portal takes you from the street into a tall, narrow volume. The handmade, double-sided ‘monster terrazzo’ bar dissects the space, referencing the heritage of the Italian/Portuguese craftsmen of Fremantle and creating a stage for the theatrical performance of bartending. A pink terrazzo bar meanders along the entry wall, creating a series of bays that encourages the clustering of patrons. A room treated with the singular colour of green is visible beyond, a Georgian stair traverses overhead and the warm glow of the compressed street-facing lounge can be seen across the bar. Bold graphics and a fanciful colour scheme paired with the heritage stair, eclectic floor tiles and pressed metal ceiling combines to create an amplified cocktail, shaken not stirred.

Promoting the ethos of ‘long life loose fit,’ the small bar successfully activates a tired space, borrowing charm from its past lives, whilst adding an exciting new layer to its history. Our decorative approach ensures flexibility for different programs, allowing room for improvisation with design that is agile, rather than rigid and dictatorial. Local labour, materials and talent sustains the local economy and creates sense of place and belonging. The project demonstrates the magic and potential in our existing built fabric, which can be realised in a fun and economic fashion. A balancing act between new and old the result is a small bar that feels at once youthful and conversely as if its always been there. Ronnie Nights is realised as a place never guaranteed to be the same, but one that promises it wont be boring.