Haldane Martin Iconic Design has designed a brewery and restaurant interior for Mad Giant beer that plays with scale referencing oversized metal toy construction kits. The result is a creative and welcoming industrial space that brings to life the DIY ethos of the renegade South African craft beer, while contributing to the urban regeneration of inner-city Johannesburg.
Mad Giant craft beer is a South African beer made by chemical engineer Eben Uys, still in his early thirties, a man with a passion for experimenting with science and flavour who is not afraid of big ideas. Mad Giant represents “the small guy brave enough to dream big and do something crazy,” in the words of its founder. Its mindset is renegade, propellerhead and somewhat madcap.
The brewery and restaurant in downtown Johannesburg was designed to embody the Mad Giant ideology and to create a space where beer drinkers can experience the free-spirited, adventurous philosophy of the brand, while experiencing a celebration of flavour and uninhibited creativity in a vibrant environment.
The interior concept draws on the mad, DIY mindset of Mad Giant and plays with scale to emphasise the giant behind the brand. Emerging as the perfect brand mascot, a giant yeti forms a centrepiece installation. This also translates onto the new brand identity of the beer bottle labels and other graphic design elements.
Standing from floor to ceiling behind the front bar facing the entrance of the brewery, the 7-metre-tall icon is made from laser-cut yellow zinc-passivated steel, riveted to a mild steel framework. It is spot lit from the ceiling, making it radiate from every angle of the space. At its base is the bar display with a large circular bar counter and branded Mad Giant beer taps in front of it.
The 6-metre-diameter cast concrete bar counters take the form of a giant bottle cap beneath the giant yeti. There are another three simpler concrete bars at the back of the brewery in the tasting pods.
All the furniture in the brewery is bespoke and includes a range of original pieces by Haldane Martin made from custom-made scaled up Meccano, like giant toys turned into furnishings, to bring the brand vision to life. Giant murals with a playful, childlike aesthetic adorn the walls, enhancing the effect of a child’s big dreams brought to life.
The floors are spectacular, combining different materials in ways that reiterate the trope of blown-up toy building blocks. The dining area floor is made from recycled Rhodesian teak parquet, laid in a herringbone formation. At the front of the brewery the herringbone fragments into pixelated pieces, merging into stained concrete with floating pieces of wood creating playful patterns. In the bottle store the wooden flooring pixelates into honeycomb-shaped black and white tiles.
The walls along the length of the brewery feature grey-scale murals by graffiti artist Nomad. There are four portraits, one of a hooded woman, another a child in a bear onesie (his ‘mad giant’ suit) and the third of two children’s faces wearing goggles. Hexagon tiles feature on the walls of the bathrooms and kitchen.
An 80-year-old shed that has been refurbished, the building’s roof was replaced in renovations and left with exposed steel trusses painted with burnt red undercoat. The building itself used to be an old elevator factory in Johannesburg’s industrial hey-day and stood empty for years before the Mad Giant renovation. The transformation speaks to the upsurgence in movement back into South Africa’s financial capital’s inner city, with a revival of interest in the downtown area’s creative regeneration.
The interior was worked on from concept to installation between the Johannesburg venue and Cape Town, where the Haldane Martin design team is based. The process went smoothly and the client and designer are both incredibly happy with the final product. As the doors open to the public so interest is piquing in this completely unique, innovative space that caters to a wide audience of beer, food and design lovers alike.
Pioneering new flavours and iconic design, Mad Giant celebrates a brave creative spirit that speaks to the urban regeneration burgeoning in Johannesburg’s inner-city. It is a space that highlights the transformation of an area once lost to detriment, which is once again being revived to its former glory.
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