MELBOURNE – Housed within the Builders Arms Hotel, Ricky & Pinky embodies the prevailing multiculturalism that has been present in Australia since the late 1970s. Positioning a Chinese restaurant within a historic pub may seem like a clash of cultures to some, but social-political shifts throughout Australia have led to many influences from migrant communities being adopted by the mainstream, particularly in food and design. Nowhere is this more evident than in vibrantly diverse Melbourne, and Sibling Architecture has collated a mixture of Chinese and Australian motifs for the bistro in homage to this hybrid, inclusive society.
Invoking the sense of opulence and urban renewal projected by the suburban area of Fitzroy, blue and gold piping meanders throughout the space in a reconstruction and exaggeration of the traditional Chinese gateway to welcome visitors. References to Shanghainese Art-Deco are made with expansive tendril patterns that extend and wind around contemporary mirrored lighting.
Reflective ceilings allow diners to look up and see their food glancing back at them and nods to the Chinese custom of longevity. In stark contrast to contemporary rules of refinement, lazy Susans – a rotating table device for family and friends to gather around shared dishes – take centre stage of the dining experience. By integrating traditional Chinese motifs into a Melbourne context, the firm has moulded a new Sino-Australian language and flavour.