A wave of recognition greets guests to a three-level Japanese-themed marquee at the spring racing carnival, writes Stephen Crafti.
The Great Wave of Kanagawa, depicted by numerous Japanese artists in the 19th century, was a starting point for the design of the Lexus marquee at this year's spring carnival .
Designed by Hecker Guthrie, the three-level, 350-square-metre marquee (including rooftop terrace) is strategic, given the Lexus manufacturing base in Japan.
Rather than creating a similar wave to those depicted in the past, Hecker Guthrie pixilated it to create a contemporary pattern in the familiar blues to sand-colour yellows.
"There are at least 40 different interpretations of the great wave. We wanted to engage with this iconic image, but we also wanted to create a fresh interpretation," says interior designer Paul Hecker.
Guests attending the Lexus marquee arrive into a double-height space, with the pixilated wave fabric appearing from floor to ceiling. Framing a Lexus vehicle, the "wave" acts as a welcoming mat.
"We were given a fairly loose brief from our clients, The Big Group, but it was important to make that Japanese connection," says Hecker, who used the same fabric to finish bars, trestle-style tables and for furnishings. Once this strong palette was established, other materials, such as plywood and pine - humble materials often used in Japanese homes - came into play.
"Traditional Japanese homes are often timber framed, with paper used for interior walls and partitions," Hecker says.
Past the Lexus, guests experience a variety of seating areas, from bench-style to small table arrangements. And suspended above are a series of contemporary paper lanterns. Like a Japanese home, the joinery, such as the bench-style tables, is finished in fine interlocking detail, not dissimilar to a pagoda.
The tables are decorated with highly glazed vessels in hues of blue.
Like a Japanese tavern, where more intimate spaces can be found the higher one goes, sedan-style seating on the first floor allows for more intimate gatherings. And those who prefer to remain on the first floor also enjoy a bar there, complete with overhead lanterns.
The third level of the Lexus pavilion has been given over to a roof terrace created by landscape designer Jamie Durie. Like Hecker Guthrie, Durie was inspired by the simple materials used to construct Japanese homes. And like many Japanese homes, the plywood trellis is adorned with white wisteria.
"It's been a wonderful project for our team to work on. To start with a piece of fabric and see something like this evolve is a great process. It felt like a great hook to start with," Hecker says.