Maude Restaurant

Location /  Tauranga, New Zealand

People Involved / Ctrl+Space

Photography / Sarah Grace

Approachable, stylish and unique, this all-day café has been designed to age gracefully and become an iconic establishment for the Bay of Plenty. Auckland design studio CTRL_ explain their conceptual drivers and how natural and authentic materials reinforce the coastal setting.

Our brief was to create a friendly and approachable interior for the local Tauranga community and visitors from around the region. Set in one of the fastest growing districts in New Zealand, Maude – lovingly named after the owner’s grandmother – needed to have a local flavour, but still with a degree of urban sophistication throughout. The lake setting and nearby beachfront of Mount Maunganui meant a beach aesthetic would be one of the foundations of the design.

The restaurant is in a new 330 square metre building, including a conservatory and outdoor terrace positioned to overlook a small lake. Open for breakfast through to dinner, the space had to easily transform from a light, bright morning ambience to a more moody and cosy evening atmosphere.

The brief for the fit-out was open to creative interpretation and included identity design, signage, and menus. To get the concept underway, we created an anchor for the whole space – a large central bar, which would become the social and functional heart of the restaurant. And the bar works hard, providing a variety of functions from the early morning coffee takeaway counter, to the all-day food and beverage service, before transforming into a night-time cocktail destination.

Radiating out from the bar is a formal dining environment which flows onto an indoor/outdoor casual conservatory space. We gave special attention to the seating strategy to make it social and inviting, allowing both small and large groups to feel part of the action while providing enough privacy to enjoy an intimate conversation.

When referencing ‘beachside’ design we wanted to incorporate a more international approach to this aesthetic, while still pairing it with nostalgic elements from New Zealand interiors. We sought inspiration from the Californian Palm Springs aesthetic and added our own contemporary twist.

Greens and blues were quickly identified as the key colours, which we paired with natural materials such as terracotta and spruce. The 3D Spanish terracotta tile was an early inclusion to the design, picking up on the Palm Springs aesthetic, and also woven through the branding. This modern take on the nostalgic concrete block and pinewood cladding reflects 1960’s beachside homes and give a nod to the iconic Lockwood.

The classic park bench seating acts as a sculptural installation throughout the restaurant. With a combination of high and low benches, the light, slated design helped define spaces without overpowering the interior with bulky joinery.

The subtle elements of nostalgia, and memories of an iconic 1960’s beach lifestyle, are quickly turning the owner’s aspirations of a much loved and iconic ‘local’ into a reality. Maude cleverly pushes the boundaries and balance between nostalgic elements and modern finishes to create a space comfortable for a wide demographic.