In its past life, the space was a nightclub. Like El Camino, we gutted it stripped back to its structural elements. Sandblasting the concrete walls and columns revealed their underlying beauty. A web of mechanical systems and a stock of stainless steel equipment were laid out for a state of the art kitchen.
El Camino’s success led Chef Matthew Carmichael to ask Linebox to design his second Elgin Street restaurant — Datsun, right next door! His creative energy, inside and outside of the kitchen, is infectious and inspiring. To say we were excited to work with him again is an understatement.
The challenge for the design team was to create a restaurant experience with a similar DNA El Camino, yet with its own distinctive qualities. Where El Camino is dark, raw, and industrial, Datsun’s approachable mood is light, fresh and polished.
Light and Pure
Modern white walls and aged concrete are complemented by welcoming layers of light birch wood, antique furniture painted in primary colours, and textural contemporary art pieces.
At the take-out window, patrons can peer in at the kitchen bustle as they await their order.
Demystifying and uncovering the creation, consumption, and festivity of food was central to the overall design of Datsun, just as it was with El Camino. A long wrapping bar and custom tables accommodate a variety of seating arrangements, and foster interactions between bartenders and guests. There are even moments where the bartender and guest exchange places – where you can dine essentially behind the bar.
Coming to Life
The minimalist space is designed to truly come alive only once diners, chefs, staff and food are ensconced and interacting with it. A simple, unfussy environment permits the tastes, smells, colours, and the subtleties of the characters within to put their stamp on the experience.
Project Fun Facts
Photographer: Union Eleven, Metropolis Studio