Walking into Bear & Joey is a treat for the senses. From the pretty pink walls to rounded shapes that are incorporated into all aspects of the layout, the experience is both soft and inviting.
By Belle White | Spruce Magazine
That feeling is intentional. Designer Ivan Meade of Meade Design Group wanted to craft a completely new experience.
“We wanted to bring a piece of Sydney, Australia to Victoria, with unique offerings of healthy food, and overall (create) the ideal place to gather with family and friends to find happiness,” says Meade.
“I kept my mum in mind through the whole design process,” says owner Peter Wood, “I didn’t want the space to feel pretentious. When people enter I want them to know where to stand, and feel like they are welcome.”
The welcoming ambiance is serving the new cafe well. “I see familiar faces and everyone is keen to introduce their friends and family,” says Wood, “I will often see one table with men in suits, one with women in yoga pants, and one with friends catching up.”
Meade wanted Bear & Joey to photograph well for social media – something important to keep in mind when designing commercial spaces.
“The space had some harsh industrial elements that we wanted to soften. For this, we include elements based on “Le Nouveau Art Déco” which is a design movement we are currently seeing in Europe right now. The arches add an immediate visual softness which was a part of the goals of the aesthetic of the space. I had very high ceilings to deal with, so the top of the arches help me to visually determinate the height of the space while adding visual interest,” says Meade.
“We also wanted to add elements that related to the background of the owner’s personal history,” says Meade. They came across some cool images of the 1980 Surf scene in Australia, which were a big influence on the space with the graphics and soft colour palette.
“It is very important to incorporate organic elements into any interior design,” explains Meade when asked about the plants that adorn Bear & Joey.
To keep things as simple as possible, Meade selected plants that were hardy and required very little maintenance (such as succulents) and even adding wallpaper with plants in the design. The Palm wallpaper is a classic paper by Cole & Son.
“The wallpaper adds greenery in a graphic form; when you serve healthy food you need to reflect this with what is around you,” says Meade. Not only that, but the repeating pattern accentuates the height of the space.
Meade is fascinated by creating a rhythm with design. “The backs of the benches create a pattern, and the pattern relates to the architecture of the space while re-enforcing a sense of rhythm,” says Meade.
But one of the best parts of the long, rhythmic benches? They also serve as storage – which is always in high demand in restaurants and commercial spaces. “This is one of the fun parts of creativity,” says Meade, “You come up with a unique concept and get to see it serve a purpose in real life.”
An Unusual Colour Palette
The colour palette in Bear & Joey is unique, and a bit unusual, but extremely successful in this design. The pastel pink reflects the softness that Wood had envisioned, and the green complements the plants, which in turn add vibrance to the space.
“Having the ceiling gray and giving the floors gray undertones balance the weight of colour, so the place is not overly feminine. A bit of yin and yang,” says Meade.
Light and Mirrors
“For the mirrors I wanted to reflect the space in a subtle manner, so we used brass mirrors to add a bit of glam but soften the quality of the reflection,” explains Meade.
Meade wanted the light fixtures to be the the final jewel of the design. The mid-century inspired lighting that you see while eating are designed to be the focal point of the room.
Enjoy this article? Continue reading… Design Files with Ivan Meade