The Moreton Fig Restaurant fulfilled the contemporary program for an upscale hospitality venue within a world-class university campus — providing an alternative dining option to alumni, faculty, recruits, parents and distinguished visitors.
The restaurant is part of a collection of hospitality elements that comprise the USC Ronald Tutor Campus Center, rebuilt around two Moreton Bay fig trees where students have gathered throughout the school’s history.
Starting from a material strategy to acknowledge the iconic fig trees, walnut was chosen as the primary presence for the restaurant interior.
Striving for a new expression of the classic wood-paneled steakhouse, the restaurant acknowledges the welcoming sense of the wooded environment but challenges the typically shadow-filled space with nuanced displays of light.
Cast glass, backlit figured acrylic and chain mail were connected to the walnut to create a divergent range of light transmittance and fine grade shadows.
The strategy of material contrast and complement extended to the mohair upholstery, highlighting the haptic opposition to the hardness of walnut.
The two column elements and the free-form ceiling canopies were drawn from the formal archetype of the Moreton Figs outside the windows without mimicry.
A balance between the celebratory use of walnut and the light transmitting softer materials strived to create a dignified and sensory-rich experience.