Mad Giant Beer brewery and restaurant
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 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.
In 2016 Haldane Martin launched an iconic new concept interior for South African craft beer Mad Giant. The new brewery, tasting room and restaurant in downtown Johannesburg is a space that embodies the free-spirited and adventurous mindset of the brand.
Through the interior and bespoke furniture design, Haldane Martin combines a DIY aesthetic with a quirky, child-like playfulness. Playing with scale and industrial elements – from over-sized Meccano furnishings to a giant yeti standing above the bar to burnt red exposed steel trusses – the design brings to life the Mad Giant brand’s renegade ideology.
Head chef at the Mad Giant restaurant (Urbanologi) Angelo Scirocco talks about the flavours and inspiration behind his cuisine that was designed to complement Mad Giant beer. His tapas-styled dishes combine Asian street food flavours and cooking techniques over open flames with gastronomical plating. 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.
“Mad Giant was born from the desire to conquer the world, to make a difference and to take chances with no fear of the outcome. Our beers are bold, audacious and brewed to smack a smile on your face. Inside every bottle of Mad Giant you’ll find proof of our commitment to make a beer to be enjoyed on every occasion.” – Mad Giant
Mad Giant craft beer is a South African beer made by chemical engineer Eben Uys, still in his early thirties, a man with a passion for experimenting with science and flavour who is not afraid of big ideas. Mad Giant represents “the small guy brave enough to dream big and do something crazy,” in the words of its founder. Its mindset is renegade, propellerhead and somewhat madcap.
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 (Test Kitchen, Chef’s Warehouse) calls his menu ‘urban garde’, and the 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.
Standing from floor to ceiling behind the front bar facing the entrance of the brewery, the 7-metre-tall icon is made from laser-cut yellow zinc-passivated steel, riveted to a mild steel framework. It is spot lit from the ceiling, making it radiate from every angle of the space. At its base is the bar display with a large circular bar counter and branded Mad Giant beer taps in front of it.
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 floors are spectacular, combining different materials in ways that 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 along the length of the brewery feature grey-scale murals by graffiti artist Nomad. There are four portraits, one of a hooded woman, another a child in a bear onesie (his ‘mad giant’ suit) and the third of two children’s faces wearing goggles. Hexagon tiles feature on the walls of the bathrooms and kitchen.
An 80-year-old shed that has been refurbished, the building’s roof was replaced in renovations and left with exposed steel trusses painted with burnt red undercoat. The building itself used to be an old elevator factory in Johannesburg’s industrial hey-day and stood empty for years before the Mad Giant renovation. The transformation speaks to the upsurgence in movement back into South Africa’s financial capital’s inner city, with a revival of interest in the downtown area’s creative regeneration.
Pioneering new flavours and iconic design, Mad Giant celebrates a brave creative spirit that speaks to the urban regeneration burgeoning in Johannesburg’s inner-city. It is a space that highlights the transformation of an area once lost to detriment, which is once again being revived to its former glory.
Project name: Mad Giant
Location: 1 Fox St, Johannesburg PO Box 61444, Marshalltown 2107, South Africa
Coordinates: -26.206981, 28.031823
Type: Lounge / Bar / Restaurant / Night Clubs
Project Area: 1,100 sqm
Completion Year: 2016
Visit Mad Giant Beer brewery and restaurant’s website: here
Client / Owner / Developer: Mad Giant
Interior Designer: Haldane Martin – 219 Albert Road, Woodstock, Cape Town, 7925 South Africa
Furniture Design: Haldane Martin
Manufacturers: Leon at CCXIX, Vye Graphics
Text Description: © Courtesy of Haldane Martin, Mad Giant
Images: © Haldane Martin, Mad Giant, Micky Hoyle