Jimmy Grants Emporium

JIMMY GRANTS – EMPORIUM MELBOURNE

Source: Techne

Source: Techne

Jimmy Grants, a new souvlaki bar, has received much attention since the opening of the Emporium Melbourne. The origin of their name ‘Jimmy Grants’, which rhymes with ‘immigrants’, is displayed proudly on a front-facing window:

“When I moved from Cyprus to Melbourne in 1949, I got a job at the Docks. Everyone who came by boat was looking for work like me, but no true blue Aussie could pronounce my name. To them I was just another immigrant. Whether from Greece, Italy or China we were all just called ‘Jimmy Grant’” (1)

Enlarged black and white image of Jimmy Grant’s photo (left) Window informative sign -“Jimmy who?" (right)

Enlarged black and white image of Jimmy Grant’s photo (left)
Window informative sign -“Jimmy who?” (right)

With its clear statement and the enlarged black and white photography, it demonstrates that the restaurant wants to evoke the spirit of immigrants at the Docks. Jimmy Grants not only burrow the Greek traditional elements but also encapsulates the sense of the suburban Melbourne milk bars run by immigrants. This is how I believe the designer approached in fulfilling the owner’s vision.

~

IMMIGRANTS CONCEPT
In evoking the spirit of immigrants, Jimmy Grant’s design is inspired by two key themes:
One, is the Melbourne suburban icon – milk bars (or mixed businesses) in the 1970s/1980s. Two, is the Greek traditional references. These two themes complement perfectly to the owner’s personal story, who was an immigrant himself, bringing the sense of authenticity and history through a nostalgic experience.

Melbourne Milk Bars
There are two different facades which demonstrates the typical look of a suburban Melbourne milk bars or mixed businesses, bringing it to life in a contemporary style.

Jimmy Grant’s Left Façade of a typical Milk bar or mixed businesses shop front style in 1970s/1980s .

Jimmy Grant’s Left Façade of a typical Milk bar or mixed businesses shop front style in 1970s/1980s .

The left façade demonstrates the ‘shop front’ window display of a typical milk bar with details of signs and familiar typography.

Melbourne milk bars window shop front with arch texts and common signs used. Source: Melbourne Now - David Wadelton - Icons of Suburbia

Melbourne milk bars window shop front with arch texts and common signs used.
Source: Melbourne Now – David Wadelton – Icons of Suburbia; Eamon Donnelly

The window side entry is imagined as a turn of the century shop front with strip PVC and inward door style.

Jimmy Grant’s inward window side entry. Source: Melbourne Now - David Wadelton - Icons of Suburbia

Jimmy Grant’s inward window side entry. (left);
Source: Melbourne Now – David Wadelton – Icons of Suburbia (right)

In contrast, the red bricks on the right façade, represents the renovation movement when milk bars struggled to make profit. The brickworks intentionally reads as an extension “as if it was added to the shop at a later date”(2).

Jimmy Grants' right façade with red brickworks.

Jimmy Grants’ right façade with red brickworks. Source: Techne (left & Middle)

This also made me realised that most milk bars are now abandoned, which reminds me of an article about Melbourne milk bars becoming extinct:

“The milk bar as we knew it is almost extinct, swallowed in its death throes by the ceaseless march of modernity: the convenience store, the franchise, fast food, the service station and the supermarket.” (3)

The brickworks also appears to imitate the side view of a typical milk bar, as evident by exposing the carton boxes and drink bottles through the louvre windows. Over the exposed kitchen area, a striped canvas awning embody the Milk bar’s appearance from street view.

Jimmy Grants' striped canvas awning

Jimmy Grants’ striped canvas awning

Milk bar on ____ Street - Source: Melbourne Now - David Wadelton - Icons of Suburbia Milk bar on ____ Street – Source:

Source: Melbourne Now – David Wadelton – Icons of Suburbia (left); 
 Source: The Age article “Long Farewell to a Surburban Icon” & Eamon Donnelly – Melbourne Milk Bars (right)

 

Greek References

Jimmy Grants’ branding identity is influenced by Greek references, evident by its graphic design and careful selection of materials. If you are wondering why there are cross and minus signs everywhere, it is actually an abstract version of an old apothecary symbol and blue stripes from the Greek flag. This also explains why the designer consistently used the colour blue and white throughout the space.

Jimmy Grant’s Logo (left); Greek Flag – Blue and White Stripes with apothecary (cross) symbol. (right)

Jimmy Grant’s Logo (left);
Greek Flag – Blue and White Stripes with apothecary (cross) symbol. (right)

JG_Cross symbol

Cross symbols annotation. Source: Techne  (original photo)

JG_4 Symbol 2

1. Jimmy grant’s logo symbol pattern 2. Logo Neon sign inspired by bug zappers. 3. Side wall mosaic tiles with logos symbol.

Jimmy Grants features common Greek decorative materials such as mosaic and styrofoam tiles in a playful manner. This allows us to recognise the traditional elements, since Ancient Greece were known for their elaborate art in the 4th Century.

Material Pallet: Mosaic tiles (1,2,3) and terrazzo floors (4,5)

Material Pallet: Mosaic tiles with blue, white and black colours arranged randomly and forming cross signs  (1,2,3) ; terrazzo floors – common material used in Milk bars (4,5)

JG_ceiling

Jimmy Grants’ ceiling using styrofoam tiles in Greek revival style.

Jimmy Grants also decorates the space with kitsch references to Greek mixed businesses. From inspired bug zapper neon sign to exposing stacking plates, old school signs and timber benches, this also combines the docks atmosphere relating back to the immigrants concept.

1. Jimmy Grants neon logo inspired by bug zappers used in Greek restaurants. 2. Souvlaki Bar Café on Brunswick Street 3. Blue Bug Zapper Source: Google

1. Jimmy Grants neon logo inspired by bug zappers used in Greek restaurants.
2. Souvlaki Bar Café on Brunswick Street
3. Blue Bug Zapper Source: Google

Galvanised cyclone mesh fence with love locks to suggest the “docks” atmosphere.

Galvanised cyclone mesh fence with love locks to suggest the “docks” atmosphere.

Jimmy Grants' Point of Sale counter in timber materials reminds of the docks boardwalk.

Jimmy Grants’ Point of Sale counter in timber materials similar to the docks boardwalk.

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Jimmy Grants’ interior design celebrates the Melbourne milk bars and the immigrants background in the most playful and nostalgic approach. Not only it brings joy of our childhood memories associated with milk bars but also raise the issue faced by milk bar owners. It was a memorable and educational experience through learning about ‘Jimmy Grants’, I’m also keen to visit their other branches to compare some of the similarities and differences. Check it out!

Jimmy Grant's Souvlaki

Jimmy Grant’s Souvlaki

Jimmy Grants' first restaurant in Fitzroy

Jimmy Grants’ first restaurant in Fitzroy

Restaurant: Jimmy Grants
Location: Emporium Melbourne
Interior Designer: Techne Architecture + Interior Design
Brand Designer: End to End Creative
P
hotographer: Tom Blachford

References
1. Jimmy Grants. Accessed January 2015. http://jimmygrants.com.au/
2. “Techne pays homage to the 1970s Milk bar”. Australian Design Review. Accessed January 2015. http://www.australiandesignreview.com/designwall/44199-techne-pays-homage-to-the-1970s-milk-bar
3. “Long farewell to a suburban icon”. Chris Johnston. The Age. Accessed January 2015.  http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/long-farewell-to-a-suburban-icon-20121026-28aye.html

2 thoughts on “Jimmy Grants Emporium

  1. Great to see my Milk Bars project was used as inspiration for Jimmy Grants! Well done.
    FYI could you please update the image credits for the colour Milk Bar photograph references to Eamon Donnelly. Only one image is credited to me. Thanks!

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