2017 Melbourne Design Awards

spaces, objects, visual, graphic, digital & experience design, design champion, best studio & best start-up, plus over 40 specialist categories

accelerate transformation, celebrate courage, growing demand for design

Image Credit : Fraser Marsden Photography




Project Overview

The Shukufuku Japanese Bento interior is a charismatic representation of their brand. Featuring a visually dynamic ceiling feature, a youthful lighting strategy, and an oversized steel frame Maneki-neko, the space is a bright, fun addition to the Melbourne CBD. Pops of blue and yellow contrast the clean, white neutral backdrop. Shukufuku is a Japanese Bento restaurant located on Lygon Street; a bustling street infamous for its restaurant and food culture. Featuring natural materials such as timber and rope, the neutral toned materials palette is juxtaposed with pops of their corporate colours, blue and yellow. Highlighting Shukufuku's strong brand identity, geometric features were included throughout the interior. From the subtle diamond shaped wall tiles, to the oversized pendant lights; the interior is continually reinforcing the Shukufuku brand identity. The star of the show is the faceted ceiling feature, which is made of over 20 faceted panels. The custom-made individual and communal dining tables feature 'colour blocked' sections which segment the tables, as inspired by the compartmentalised nature of the 'bento'.

Project Commissioner

Shukufuku Japanese Bento

Project Creator

Rptecture Architects


Vincent Choi
Sandra Siew
Eleni Alexiadis
David Fung
Lauren Chan

Project Brief

The client required a fresh, bright environment with a fun, inviting atmosphere. Using their geometric brand logo as inspiration, a visually dynamic design language emerged. The space is light, vibrant, and inviting, catering to all demographics. Those looking to enjoy a quick bite by themselves, to those wanting to enjoy a lengthy meal with a group of family or friends. Shukufuku required a fast paced module, whereby patrons are able to move in out of the store in a quick manner. A small area exists for those wanting to dine in, although the premise is for a faster environment. A youthful and fresh colour palette aims to attract the younger university students nearby. The identity of the menu is reflected within the design language; a twist upon the traditional. Reflecting a fast paced business module, the design addresses the needs of the business by creating a lot of customer "self serve" areas. The building's facade has been painted white, and the front door a bright yellow; incorporating both the branding and the heritage overlay harmoniously.

Project Innovation/Need

Working with and catering to a relatively small restaurant space, it was imperative that the interior was a creative and intelligent representation of the brand. The oversized pendant lights cast geometric shadow patterns onto the ceiling feature, creating the illusion of an increased number of faceted panels in the ceiling feature. To make the space feel more expansive, the main dining area features highly reflective materials such as tiles and mirror. The large expanse of mirror at the entry to the store, transforms the 'half cat' steel structure into a 'full cat' - creating the corporate logo in an ingeniously space saving way. The holistic design language is the outcome of a well developed brand identity, great working relationships between all involved, and smart, creative design.

Design Challenge

The single biggest design challenge for this project was the faceted ceiling feature suspended over the dining area of the tenancy. Translating the geometric angular concept into a built reality was one of trials and tribulations. The initial design was simplified - going from over 50 faceted panels into a version which consisted of just over 20 panels. This simplification was done in a deliberate and well thought out manner as to keep the integrity and power of the original design in tact.
Due to the geographical context, with the restaurant being located on Lygon Street, Carlton - one of the initial design challenges was to create an interesting eye catching shopfront whilst also working with the heritage overlay. As this is the brands first and flagship store, it was especially important that the shop front had a high visual impact, which would draw people into the tenancy. This design challenge was overcome through the use of a strong cohesive design language - tying in with the rest of the interior. The heritage facade was painted a bright clean white, with the entrance door painted in a contrasting pop of yellow.


A robust use of natural materials was employed throughout the project, with strict consideration to durability, sustainability, recyclable properties and environmental friendliness. Timber used in the furniture, wall, floor and the ceiling feature are 100% recyclable, resulting in a large percentage of the overall building materials as recyclable. Certification schemes and forest product purchasing programs must be in place for any timber purchased. The materials purchased are from sustainable resources that are from well managed forests which provide significant and measurable environmental and economic benefits to communities. Other materials used are melamine particleboard, used extensively for all cabinets and carcasses. It has been tested extensively to the Australian and European Union Standards. Stainless steel was also used and requires little maintenance, meaning fewer chemicals being deposited down the drain. This has made this product an eco-friendly product.

This award celebrates innovative and creative building interiors, with consideration given to space creation and planning, furnishings, finishes, aesthetic presentation and functionality. Consideration also given to space allocation, traffic flow, building services, lighting, fixtures, flooring, colours, furnishings and surface finishes.
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