The effects of architecture on cultural identity are strong to say the least.
It can easily be noted how the values, morals and identity of a city are portrayed through its major works of architecture. However, while architecture offers this cultural identity in a high impact way, interior design offers the opportunity for this culture to not only be expressed, but to actually be formed.
In Australia, while cultural experiences and the country’s overall identity vary, there is perhaps no greater stereotype than the drinking culture.
The practice of having a drink is the old Australian pastime, but also something that has evolved under the melting pot of urban living.
A city’s drinking culture can differ vastly across different venues, but in terms of uniqueness, Melbourne’s small-scale laneway venue drinking culture is one to be envied. The small boutique bars that run their way through the city centre are a change of space from the large-scale nightclubs where design can really be appreciated and communication enhanced.
This enviable culture is trying to find roots in Sydney, where large-scale clubs still tend to dominate. According to Kirsten Stanisich, director of SJB Architects, the drinking culture is slowly changing in the NSW city, but would be given a much needed boost with a little more industry self-assuredness.
“I think it would be great to see Sydney become a bit more confident with its own bar identity,” says Stanisich. “Creating diversity between the cities will help to foster new design ideas which ultimately makes design more interesting.”
While still in the early stages of adopting this new drinking culture, the interior design abilities of the Sydney industry in delivering spaces that will cater to this are apparent. Small bars such as the Beresford by Melbourne-based interior design firm Kerry Phelan Design Office, with their precise detailing and almost timeless qualities, would make anyone feel as though these kinds of venues are long standing part of Sydney’s night life culture.
Sydney’s identity is changing and the city’s drinking culture is but one of these changes. The promotion of these smaller-scale venues has numerous positive aspects, which include veering away from the heightened nightlife violence that surrounds large-scale venues and a promotion of social events that centre around communication.
Bringing the focus back to the industry, the development of these small bars allows for true uniqueness in interior design and an extended opportunity to develop and to be recognised.