Fancy Nance

Working with Adriano Zumbo on a project – a high tea cocktail lounge, bakery and café/deli – was the chance for us to let our imagination go wild, with the only stipulation that the response had to include his signature pink streak. Fancy Nance is named after Adriano’s Mum, a perennially glamorous woman who loved dressing up and opulent décor.

Our design concept followed the story of Nancy the fancy flamingo – all spaces work to a consistent geometry that reference the distinctive form and proportions of a flamingo’s body and the patterns of their feathers. Just like these elegant creatures, what’s happening above and below is important. From overhead shelving and custom-made teacup lights by artist Suzie Stanford to the plush blue velvet banquette seating below, the form and colour stimulate the senses. The pink and blue palette of finishes – which our builder refers to as “80s Miami” adds a fun, retro atmosphere. Metallic surfaces recall Nancy’s love of shiny things – accents of mirror and brass can be found throughout the space.

For the spatial layout, we created a ‘kit of parts’ that would demarcate the different programmatic functions and give intimacy to the large space. Housed in the tenancy, the existing kitchen and bar were retained, which, along with the equipment required for the gelati and bakery areas, impacted the planning. We created separate entrances for the ‘day-time’ café and bakery and the ‘evening’ high-tea and cocktail lounge. A large graffiti-covered screen, a collaboration with artist Dan Wenn, helps physically divide the areas. The spaces are also delineated through look and feel – with the lounge space using a more opulent materials palette to contrast with the brightness and clean lines of the café.

Photography by Peter Clarke