Haldane Martin Iconic Design has designed a brewery and restaurant interior for Mad Giant beer that plays with scale referencing oversized metal toy construction kits. The brewery and restaurant in downtown Johannesburg was designed to embody the Mad Giant ideology and to create a space where beer drinkers can experience the free-spirited, adventurous philosophy of the brand, while experiencing a celebration of flavour and uninhibited creativity in a vibrant environment.
The restaurant inside the brewery, Urbanologi, gives an avant garde twist to Asian street food. Chef Angelo Scirocco’s unexpected combination of umami flavours and craft beer set it apart. Fresh natural ingredients, attention to detail in cooking and plating, and an experimental and constantly evolving menu reinforce the connection between Urbanologi’s cuisine and Mad Giant’s beer.
The interior concept draws on the mad, DIY mindset of Mad Giant and plays with scale to emphasise the giant behind the brand. Emerging as the perfect brand mascot, a giant yeti forms a centrepiece installation. This also translates onto the new brand identity of the beer bottle labels and other graphic design elements.
The 6-metre-diameter cast concrete bar counters take the form of a giant bottle cap beneath the giant yeti. There are another three simpler concrete bars at the back of the brewery in the tasting pods.
All the furniture in the brewery is bespoke and includes a range of original pieces by Haldane Martin made from custom-made scaled up Meccano, like giant toys turned into furnishings, to bring the brand vision to life. Giant murals with a playful, childlike aesthetic adorn the walls, enhancing the effect of a child’s big dreams brought to life.
The restaurant and brewery’s seating formations are diverse and varied, allowing for versatile social engagement. The outdoor tables and benches are created using custom-made scaled up Meccano pieces, inspired by the modular designs from the famous construction toy company. This construction technique also appears in the lighting and table bases.
Bespoke lighting was designed for the space by Haldane Martin including large black feature pendant lights with gold interiors hanging from upscale red Meccano above the kitchen pass, and beer hall chandeliers with a contemporary twist in the dining area, made from circular wheel-shaped Meccano with LED Edison lightbulbs.
The floors combine different materials and reiterate the trope of blown-up toy building blocks. The dining area floor is made from recycled Rhodesian teak parquet, laid in a herringbone formation. At the front of the brewery the herringbone fragments into pixelated pieces, merging into stained concrete with floating pieces of wood creating playful patterns. In the bottle store the wooden flooring pixelates into honeycomb-shaped black and white tiles.
The walls of the brewery feature grey-scale portrait murals by graffiti artist Nomad.
Banquet seating made from distressed leather is completely unique to Mad Giant. The formation is inspired by traditional diner seats, with a ribbed back that references the iconic Haldane Martin Songololo Sofa. The standout feature of the seats are their draped unfinished back and sides, creating a beautiful effect of hanging leather.
The dining chairs have rebar arms and legs, metal back and legs sprayed bright red with a Mad Giant emblem laser-cut into the back, with seats and seatbacks upholstered in distressed leather with red stitching.
The bathroom has massive I-beams painted bright red converted into basins. The hexagonal pattern of the bottle store floor tiles is continued in the bathroom’s scaled-down honeycomb wall tiles, as well as in the kitchen, emphasised with bright red tile grout. These elements continue the theme of building blocks while also alluding to the periodic table, to reinforce the mad scientist character behind the brand.
The result is a creative and welcoming industrial space that brings to life the DIY ethos of the renegade South African craft beer, while contributing to the urban regeneration of inner-city Johannesburg.
Photography by Micky Hoyle
Interior and Furniture Design by Haldane Martin