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PROJECT / TONKA, MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA


CLOUD COVER


Lighting design by Relume helps realise the vision of artist Naomi Troski, whose swirling mesh sculpture floats above diners at the new Tonka restaurant in Melbourne.


Melbourne’s laneways - an intimate huddle of boutique shops, artisan cafes, street bars and dining spaces that weave through one corner of the city centre - gained a new jewel earlier this year with the opening of Asian-cuisine restaurant, Tonka. It occupies a site that is perhaps best known to locals as the former home of Honky Tonks, a nightclub whose graffiti- plastered entrance, strict door policy and eccentric interior made it legendary among Melbourne clubbers. Compared to its predecesor, Tonka offers a far more refined experience, though one not short on imaginative touches. Entering the venue through the kitchen’s dry food store, guests are taken up to the main dining space, a room decorated with a ‘Jodhpur inspired’ interior scheme to match


the Tandoor themed menu and featuring large picture windows that provide views across the Yarra River and beyond. Key to the design is a sculptural installation by local artist Naomi Troski. Owners Kate Calder, Mykal Bartholemew and Adam D’Sylva asked Troski to create a piece that would ‘capture the magic of India’. Her response was Drift, a billowing mass of powder-coated steel mesh sheets and gossamer threads that cover much of the ceiling.


The piece is created using individually hand folded modules of mesh that have been carefully positioned to generate a gentle, rolling movement. The supporting matrix of the crisscrossing stainless steel wires act as sight lines that direct the viewer’s attention, while fibreglass poles curl and


Created by Melbourne artist Naomi Troski, the Drift sculpture comprises rolls of mesh that scroll across the ceiling. Relume positioned the architect specified trackspots, adding filters and changing beam angles to maximise the effect of the cloud.


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