For Chris Lucas, the project was about playing a meaningful part in the revival of Melbourne city itself after two years dormancy.
Grill Americano was his way of continuing to revamp Melbourne’s renowned dining scene and pioneering the city’s rebirth. For dining is an occasion. It must be opulent, and the food must have the flavour to stand up to all the luxurious finery that surrounds it.
The brief was to create something unexpected with the interiors, in a reimagined manner that created an inviting environment for guests. The concept embraces an Italian brutalism aesthetic, with a venetian softness and elegance.
Within the iconic 101 Collins Street building Lucas imagined an Italian institution that would stand the test of time with an international panache. The illusion created by the rich window dressings and interior grandeur, allows guests to imagine they are dining in New York or Venice.
The result of our collaboration is a grand space that recalls the kind of New York energy that has long inspired Chris, and indeed Hayley and I, but with the elegance of a Venetian bar. There are gleaming sliver table lamps with concertina shades, radiating moody light throughout the room. There is a curvaceous 14 metre slab of marble transformed into a bar, and Egyptian blue playing hero everywhere.
There is meticulous detailing that elevates the dining experience. There is a play on scale; marble on mass, depth of the Caspian Sea walls, hovering chandeliers [over two metres in diameter], a vast central waiter station, oversized smoked mirrors, and a high gloss black American oak panelled wall. And the layers in the details are expressed with chrome studding to the chairs and stools. There is high gloss black bolexion moulded joinery and lighting plays an important role in the space.
For the team at Mitchell & Eades, the result is a total sensory experience that rightly compliments the quality of the food and service. Grill Americano is not just dining; it’s an experience.