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The Galeries - Food Court
PROJECTS  /  The Galeries - Food Court

The Galeries - Food Court

Location:
Sydney
Type:
Shopping Centre
Year:
2011
Project Manager:
Buildcorp
Interior Designer:
The Uncarved Block
Photographer:
John Gollings

The brief for The Galeries was to Increase relevance and generate appeal for The Galeries shopping centre in Sydney's CBD amongst fashion-savvy 16-29 y/o consumers, at a time when the giants like Westfield Sydney were opening their doors

The Galeries (formerly Galeries Victoria -TGV) is a shopping centre located in the heart of the Sydney central business district, bounded by George, Pitt and Park Streets. The Galeries is a lifestyle and cultural destination for fashion, art and music

The site on which The Galeries now stands was originally home to the flagship Waltons department store. It now sits below the Citigroup office tower and beside the Sydney Hilton Hotel.

The Galeries was acquired by Ipoh Ltd in May 1998. Construction of the centre was completed in July 2000.

The Galeries is a 15,000 square metre shopping centre with lettable area over four levels including the restored Heritage School of Arts Building. The tenancy mix for Lower Ground Floor level comprises food and beverage, convenience and service retailing. The Ground Floor level is principally for leisure and lifestyle fashion and fashion accessories. Above the shopping centre is a 72,000 square metre office tower

The Galeries features a series of covered laneways running throughout with bridges between buildings and a central piazza area. Underground passageways lead off to Town Hall railway station at the southern end, adjacent to a passageway that leads to the Queen Victoria Building. The centre also incorporates the historic Sydney School of the Arts, which is now the Arthouse Hotel. There is also a Sydney Monorail station in the shopping centre.

The food court on the lower levels of The Galeries has always been a popular venue given its location with a direct connection to Town Hall station and being on one of the main public access routes through to Pitt Street.

The food court on the lower levels of The Galeries has always been a popular venue given its location with a direct connection to Town Hall station and being on one of the main public access routes through to Pitt Street. Ipoh’s vision for the location has always envisaged a high quality offering and with the completion of the refurbishment, the food court more than matches the best food venues in the area. The redesign was carried out by the architects, The Uncarved Block , who reintroduced a stair connection to the upper level as well as designing a high quality public space. Visitor feedback from postings has been positive so the food court looks set for a promising future.

Much like the Melbourne Central food court, The Uncarved Block aimed to redefine a typical food court experience by creating more intimate areas with low lighting and shadows, whilst introducing a series of contrasting elements. Starting with a materials palette that combines raw concrete with natural warm timbers. Along with the integration of technology in to different parts of the food court; a full height wall of digital screens is used for promotions but also for inspiring messaging.

Feature pendants and cluster lighting by Tom Dixon among others are scattered around the different dining spaces to add to the feeling of individuality that the food court is trying to promote. Communal bench seating, marble effect table tops, and colourful stools all create their own dining identity within their own space in the food court.

The space is also very much about texture. Ceramics from Japan, were used for their sculptural qualities, the textures and relief patterns of these materials adding another layer of shadow and drama to the space. The main feature of this project is a sweeping staircase that connects this boutique food court with the rest of the mall above it. The mosaic tiles that clad the outside of the staircase reflect the changing light conditions as the staircase moves down from the more naturally lit ground floor of the mall to the subterranean level food court that has recessed lights in the base of the staircase washing light back up underneath it.

Colour and contrast play a big part in identifying the food court from the mall above it. The dark grey floor tiles, staircase and columns in the food court pop out against the white mall edge above it, adding intrigue and providing a destination for customers looking down in to the space.

The design concept aims to redefine all facets of the dining experience in a typical food-court approach, setting it apart from its counterparts in the CBD. The food court links inspiration from the existing mix of avant-¬garde fashion retailers, the current clientele and location with the art of consumption and conveys this through bespoke design elements, materials palette, texture, lighting and furniture. Visual and tactile juxtapositions – nature verses technology, warm natural materials verses raw concrete, and art verses functionality – are driving elements in providing an inviting yet richly dynamic dining venue. Ceramics from Japan, Spain and Italy are used extensively, and were selected for their sculptural qualities, reaction to light and textural attributes. The architects chose a warm neutral palette to allow individual tenancies to inject their own colours – now, tenant palettes embracing greens and yellow, orange through to red, and black and white contribute to the total visual composition.

A grand staircase in the primary void enhances the link, visually and physically, between ground and lower ground levels – the food court and specialty retailers – and provides an entry point to the food court directly from street level.

Breaking away from the traditional mass dining hall approach, the dining area allows for a variety of dining experiences. There is high and low communal bench-style seating and a more intimate semi-enclosed central dining box reminiscent of a private dining room in a restaurant. This diversity caters for a broad clientele, from the youth and CBD blue-collar workers through to inner-city residents, executives and fashionistas, and allows for the traditional fast food grab and counter service to co¬exist with the slow food dining experience. It also provides the flexibility to adapt and transform the space from a day venue to one for evening dining.

Technology integrates with raw aesthetics. A full-height wall of multimedia screens alters the quality and feel of the dining environment. This ever-changing medium can be programmed to promote, inspire and celebrate milestone dates. Light fixtures and furniture by Diesel for Foscarini, Tom Dixon and Established & Sons feature throughout the space. Their selections are provocative and allude to fashion and nature.

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