The 371 square metre Urban Harvest restaurant has been designed by Atelier I-N-D-J as two adjacent spaces, joined by a stark white mall space. The joy of Urban Harvest is in its details, such as the hundreds of fibre glass sheets that hang delicately over this space, effusing a soft milky light that unites the otherwise disparate spaces.
The two zones are separated into a formal, intimate, dark and moody dining area, and an open seating area that lures the casual diner for lunch, afternoon tea, dinner or merely liquid refreshment. This section also caters for the tech-savvy diner – a charge bar offers welcome replenishment for phones whilst nourishment from the plentiful menu provides comfort and respite for shoppers.
Central columns boast a natural patina, with scrawls from workmen still etched into the hard concrete. Waxed, blackened steel and soft emerald leather juxtapose the gleaming brass light fixtures and polished brass gauze that provide privacy for the diners within.
Burnt and burnished timber strips line the walls, with a look of smoky chimerical haze that gives a moody aura to the more formal dining areas. In the central area, movable furniture and fittings take on a warm if industrial air – the iridescent surfaces a consequence of the hexavalent passivation coating.
LED grow lamps emit a full spectrum of light that bathes the surrounding dining spaces in an eerie, futuristic magenta.
Aquaponics apparatus occupies a central area and grow lights hover above suspended grow tubes with a substrate that supports micro greens, sprouts, lettuce, pak choi, basil and mint – ingredients that are harvested by the kitchen for use in the restaurants dishes. Grown on-site, these ingredients clearly do not need to be delivered so they have no food miles, which means slightly fewer trucks on the roads.
In addition a variety of species of mushrooms feature in many dishes and are grown with remarkable efficiency by local suppliers. These are placed on display and continue their late stage growth within the restaurant space and once ready the mushrooms are harvested for use in various recipes. The root ball may be regrown twice – giving the opportunity for customers to take the mushrooms home, re-grow harvest, cook and eat.