Owners of Panama Dining, Vegie Bar and Rice Queen have a great understanding of the Fitzroy dining scene, and had a strong vision for their new vegetarian venture tucked behind their existing restaurant Vegie Bar on Rose St, Fitzroy. The design concept for Transformer intends to create a sophisticated, refined and experimental restaurant as well as an immersive dining experience for their patrons. Diners eat wholefood vegetarian surrounded by greenery and are reminded with every mouthful of Transformer’s modus operandi, which is quite simply to honour the seasons.

The simplistic approach of Transformer is timeless, with longevity as a key sustainability approach. The aim was to maximise flexibility and longevity of the space by retaining as much of the existing warehouse as possible, preserving the structure and enduring texture of the former electrical transformer factory and hidden courtyard garden.

Breathe’s intention was to strip, express and expose, enhancing the existing building rather than covering it with superficial layers. All new interventions are freestanding to ensure new works are clearly legible. The materiality is robust, unpretentious and functional. This simple palette of raw, local and natural materials references the idea behind the vegetarian menu at Transformer; fresh, raw & natural. These materials include recycled timber battens to the kitchen, recycled messmate table tops from the old Geelong station, mild steel door frames & joinery, locally manufactured brass door furniture and tap ware, cyclone wire planting screens, and exposed cement sheet linings in bathrooms in lieu of tiles. Finally we let the plants run wild, occupying the space with verdant, fresh greenery.