SemiCreative 3 Seven

  • Pou Auaha / Creative Director
    James Irvine
  • Ngā Kaimahi / Team Member
    Dan Smith
  • Kaitautoko / Contributor
    Scott Bolton
  • Client
    Tom Newfield

The client’s brief was simple. Respect the building while creating a dialled back space that entices you to sit down, open a bottle of wine amongst friends and stay for the evening.

The proposed site for the restaurant was the seventh floor of the Canterbury Terminating Building Society’s former offices and the last remaining large-scale building by local architect Peter Beaven. Beaven played a key role in defining the architectural movement known as the Christchurch School, a regional response to post-war Modernism. His buildings were characterised by an expressive use of form, precise geometries and direct use of materials.

Rare for a building of its age, the architectural style, form and finishes have all been preserved in much of its original state. The seventh floor sits recessed below an overhanging concrete roof slab which appears to float above a complete surrounding of glass and steel joinery. We set about finding a balance between highlighting these features whilst giving the restaurant a style of its own, sympathetic to the era.

Beavens’ Modernist application of materials (concrete, steel, glass) result in a captivating yet brutal space. We added layers of warmth and softness through form, geometry and materials. Chocolatey hues of walnut, creamy tones of upholstery and curvaceous detailing are drawn out by dim, moody lighting creating a feeling of homeliness reminiscent of a domestic mid-century interior.

One of the key creative solutions is the 25 lineal meters of continuous booth seating. As it wraps the heavily textured structural concrete, it creates small pockets of cosy, intimate seating. Perched ever so slightly above the ‘date night’ leaners, it ensures every patron can enjoy the unadulterated views across Christchurch’s East frame whilst they experience one of the best offerings the city has to show.