Mad Giant brewery – and inside Urbanologi, winner of Best Restaurant Design in Africa and the Middle East at the 2017 Restaurant and Bar Design Awards – is a destination venue that attracts visitors to an industrial part of downtown Johannesburg. Opening in 2016 it quickly developed a reputation for being an uninhibited creative space to experience great flavours in a welcoming, vibrant environment. The design brings to life the free-spirited, DIY ethos of the renegade South African craft beer, while contributing to the urban regeneration of inner-city Johannesburg.
The interior design concept plays with scale, referencing oversized metal toy construction kits through furniture and lighting features. Emerging as the perfect brand mascot, a giant yeti forms a centrepiece installation to welcome customers. This iconic character translates onto the bottle labels and other graphic design.
Other “giant” elements include 6-metre-diameter cast concrete bar counters in the form of a bottle cap, largescale murals with a childlike aesthetic, hexagonal wall and floor tiles giving the effect of building blocks or blown-up pixels, and massive, bright red I-beams converted into basins.
All the Mad Giant and Urbanologi furniture is bespoke and includes a range of original pieces by Haldane Martin created from scaled up Meccano, like giant toys turned into furnishings, bringing the Mad Giant brand vision to life. The restaurant and brewery’s seating formations are diverse, allowing for versatile social engagement – including long, beer-hall-style seating, more intimate booths and tasting pods, dining tables and, of course, an outdoor beer garden to enjoy the African climate.
Photos by Micky Hoyle