Fifth post: Creative investigation

I have conducted the following research regarding the creative requirements of the project

Melbourne laneways
The CBD laneways in Melbourne form busy pedestrian routes known worldwide for a rich art culture, one-off boutiques, unique galleries, tiny cafés, a variety of food experiences and hidden bars.
These long narrow laneways are tucked away behind the main streets, hidden between the high-rise buildings, thus creating an absence of natural light source.

Melbourne laneways Photos: Craig Sillitoe

Dark, small interiors
The bars and cafés that occupy these spaces are very long, narrow and dark;  void of a lot of natural light.
Accent lighting is used to highlight specific objects and architectural features.
Wall-mounted lighting, hanging pendants and track lighting provide ambient lighting.
Task lighting is used for the work areas.
Reflective surfaces are used to bounce light around the room.
The organic colours and textures found in wood, brick and concrete provide a more cosy atmosphere.
Wall surfaces/ceilings that have been painted an intermediate-low tonal value (with the correct light source used) have a more intimate and cosy feel.
Wall surfaces/ceilings painted in a high tonal value can present the feeling of a more spacious room given ample/correct artificial light is used to bounce around,  if not it can look dull and cold and shadows become quite distinct and can make the room feel even darker.

sources: top left  top right  bottom left  bottom right

80’s design
The 1980’s is as misunderstood as it is notorious, the style and fashion became loud and very iconic.


Images of retro inspired/fit-outs of cafés & small bars


 sources: top left   top right  2nd row left  2nd row right
3rd row left  3rd row right  bottom left  bottom right

Images of schemes which promote a similar mood as I am aiming to achieve

sources: top left  top right  middle, bottom left & right

Lighting concepts and features
Pendant lights create atmosphere and dimension and can add texture and depth to a room while also providing functionality.
Flush mounted ceiling lights are a great way to add a subtle feature to a space and are perfect where you don’t have much of a ceiling height.
Ceiling mounted track/projector lighting can provide great lighting for working areas, they can be adjusted to add light to a specific task e.g. a work surface or highlight a display.
Ambiance and mood can successfully be created with wall lights. Soft, diffused wall lighting bouncing off a vertical surface is a great way to illuminate a space, especially if there isn’t enough ceiling height for suspension pendant lights.
Lighting can also be used to create a feature in the space.
Using dimmers to adjust lighting not only helps create a more relaxed, serene ambiance but also for reducing energy costs.

sources:  top café image  bottom café image  yellow track lighting   all other images

80’s colours 
Bright neon colours were very popular, pink and green were the more popular choices for clothing and accessories.
Geometric prints of triangles, squiggly lines, circles and checkerboard squares together with a mix of colours.
Metallic colours in bright, bold shades such as hot pink, teal green, deep purple and emerald green, also black and gold.
Stripes and Polka dot patterns came in traditional shades of white and black or red and black, along with bolder neon colours and muted pastels.

 80’s pastel colours  source   80’s neon colours  source


Dulux colour forecast 2015 inspired by the Memphis Movement of the 1980’s
Bold block colours and contrasting black and white


 Nathalie du Pasquier 80’s patterns
sources: top row  bottom row

Cultural and historical references which have inspired me

The Memphis Milano movement
played a key role in the promotion of Italian design worldwide, dominating the early 80s design scene with its post-modernist style. Drawing inspiration from such movements as Art Deco and Pop Art,  including styles such as the 1950’s Kitsch and futuristic themes.
The group challenged perceptions of ‘good design’ through their bright, colourful, shocking pieces,  with colour combinations including neon glowing shades and zebra stripes which reflected the era perfectly.
The once hated 1980’s design movement, described as a tasteless display of vulgarity, misunderstood and even bizarre, has made a comeback in fashion.
Dior’s Autumn/Winter 2011-12 Haute Couture collection and footwear brand Sergio Rossi Spring/Summer 2013 collection entirely inspired by the Memphis Milano movement.

Dior’s Autumn/Winter 2011-2012 Houte Couture collection

 left: Flamingo side table designed by Michele De Lucchi for Memphis 1984
right: Sergio Rossi Spring/Summer 2013 collection

Colour and light used in interior spaces to achieve a particular psychological effect, perception, or ‘feel’ and the impact that colour has in a variety of spaces


The colours suggest wholesome, natural and organic; feelings of comfort and earthiness, creating a sense of calm and homeliness.
The use of wall mounted fixtures for the ambient lighting, accent lighting to wash over the walls and task lighting to light the stairs and work area, plus using reflective surfaces to bounce the light around gives this space a very cosy and intimate feel.

Cafeina Entrance Bar Lounge, Portugal

 This space speaks to me as clean, refreshing, airy and vibrant, which says a lot about the colour choice.
Blue is said to be relaxing and soothing and considered to be a clean and refreshing colour.
Red has the opposite effect of blue,  but as it de-saturated and only used as an accent it gives a more earthy, comforting feel.
White; cleanliness, purity, perfection, modern, abstract, airy, cool.
The soft lit ambient lighting highlights the abstract ceiling and accent lighting showcases the graphic back bar and counter while using shiny surfaces to bounce the light around the space.
lago las vegas this one

Lago, Las Vegas

Both of these spaces communicate happiness, the colour is energizing and uplifting with a clean and refreshing feel.
An abundant amount of ambient lighting and task lighting in the display cabinets, creates a bright and inviting space.

yellow cafes

 left: Cool Café, Budapest
right: Churro Bunny takeaway café Seoul, South Korea
sources: left 

People associate green with nature, health, healing and the environment.
This café creates a comfortable and calming atmosphere.

green cafe

  Tekoe Tee Shop, Switzerland

The lighting and colour in this space gives a sense of urgency and hunger, also influences the flow of movement through the space.

red bar

The Red Prime Steak club and Bar

material sources for creative investigation:
source 1  source 2  source 3  source 4


Tahiti Memphis Lamp designed by Ettore Sottsass 1981


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