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Pink Moon Saloon

House of fire and drink in the heart of the West End, Designed by Matiya Marovich of Sans-Arc Studio. Pink Moon Saloon was to integrate a narrative of camp-fire cooking and a childlike nostalgia for nature with a bar and kitchen, in a narrow alleyway in Adelaide. The design process centred around exploring the typology of the wilderness hut, creating a moment of warmth and respite in the city.

Pink-Moon-Saloon-By-Sans-Arc-Studio-01-David-Sievers-800x1200 Pink Moon Saloon / Sans-Arc Studio

© David Sievers

The Pink Moon Saloon falls somewhere between adaptive re-use and infill construction. It is a rare example of spatial appropriation in a part of the CBD where un-used and free space is increasingly uncommon. Put simply, it has converted a nothing space – unused and unusable, into a moment of joy and warmth. It creates awareness of the potential for adaptive re-use and spatial appropriation, generating curiosity and intrigue on the street, inflicting a sense of optimism in its customers as they pass across the threshold and enter an ‘other worldly’ space . Pink Moon Saloon’s creation has significantly added to the amenity and whimsy of one of Adelaide’s most important precincts. Not only is it a place to stop off for a cool drink and bite to eat but, placed along the strategic Adelaide Oval–Central Market ‘link’, Pink Moon Saloon is an important building in its own right as an emblem of Adelaide’s recently emergent and entrepreneurial spirit. The unique design of the building, wedged between two ubiquitous office blocks, signals Adelaide’s drive to do the most with what we’ve got.

Pink-Moon-Saloon-By-Sans-Arc-Studio-03-David-Sievers-759x506 Pink Moon Saloon / Sans-Arc Studio

© David Sievers

Pink-Moon-Saloon-By-Sans-Arc-Studio-04-David-Sievers-800x1200 Pink Moon Saloon / Sans-Arc Studio

© David Sievers

“Pink Moon Saloon is a diminutive venue that occupies a former rubbish bin alley sandwiched between two office buildings in a laneway in central Adelaide. The project is simultaneously audaciously ambitious and modest. It successfully manages to make something from nothing – a forgotten space infused with a feeling of joy that the jury found particularly contagious.

While the design undoubtedly pursues a sense of genuine fun, it also taps into that deep Australian memory of long-forgotten cubby houses and sheds. It is here, within this archetypal connotation, where joyful celebration comes together. Pink Moon Saloon has been executed with a razor-sharp eye on detail and the overall design, while being immediately familiar in some uncanny way, manages to both shock and surprise us – all in a good way.

Capping off all of this, the project is 100 percent sustainable – the space it occupies can be returned to its former function at any point in the future, and the Saloon relocated to meet a different need. The end result is a bar that fully embraces its actual time and place, which is 2016, and a newly confident Adelaide, respectively.” – JURY CITATION / Eat-Drink-Design Awards

Pink-Moon-Saloon-By-Sans-Arc-Studio-05-David-Sievers-800x1200 Pink Moon Saloon / Sans-Arc Studio

© David Sievers

Sans-Arc Studio:

The brief for the project outlined a concept for a venue, running off a ‘vibrant’ lane way in Adelaide. The experience of this bar was to be entwined with a narrative. This narrative was of the outdoors, a childhood memory of fire cooked food and camping in the forest.

Pink-Moon-Saloon-By-Sans-Arc-Studio-07-David-Sievers-800x1200 Pink Moon Saloon / Sans-Arc Studio

© David Sievers

Throughout the design process the concept evolved and settled on exploring the typology of the wilderness hut. Huts are located in remote or isolated areas and often in geographically unique places. Generally speaking materials have to be sourced locally. As a result the materiality and aesthetics of the wilderness hut are varied but with a few common threads. Often timber is sourced by felling the trees on site and stone or earth is gathered from nearby. This approach creates a vernacular style amongst huts, with different elements or nuances associated with a particular region or locality.

Pink-Moon-Saloon-By-Sans-Arc-Studio-09-David-Sievers-800x1200 Pink Moon Saloon / Sans-Arc Studio

© David Sievers

The intention with Pink Moon was to create its own identity or vernacular; by designing and building in the way a hut should be. Firstly, an understanding of its unique climate. Sitting between two low-rise office buildings, narrow and long, running east-west with limited access to direct sunlight. The hut needs to embrace its surroundings, not dominate them, but embellish and appreciate them. Creating a moment of warmth and shelter within whatever context.

Pink-Moon-Saloon-By-Sans-Arc-Studio-12-Pink-Moon-Saloon-759x759 Pink Moon Saloon / Sans-Arc Studio

© Pink Moon Saloon

At 3.66 x 28 metres, the narrow site lent itself to a Japanese approach to programming. There was an obvious need for light to penetrate the space as well as create a compact, floor plan that dealt efficiently with the limited width. The result was two huts, separated in the middle by a courtyard of similar size, the bar to the street, a dining hut to the rear. This layered approach allows light to filter into both spaces, but also accentuates the movement of walking through the space, crossing multiple thresholds and experiencing three different spaces.

Pink-Moon-Saloon-By-Sans-Arc-Studio-13-Pink-Moon-Saloon-759x759 Pink Moon Saloon / Sans-Arc Studio

© Pink Moon Saloon

The internal ceilings are raked to express the 60 degree roof pitch and timber truss structure. This attempts to relieve the feeling of tightness associated with a narrow space by accentuating the height and overall volume. The front (drinkers) hut is light filled and airy whilst the dining hut is darker, dimly lit and focussed around the fire. The central courtyard has little of its own lighting, but instead allows light into the two huts during the day and is lit by them at night.

Pink-Moon-Saloon-By-Sans-Arc-Studio-14-Pink-Moon-Saloon-759x759 Pink Moon Saloon / Sans-Arc Studio

© Pink Moon Saloon

All of the material selection was based around the principles of hut-construction and have been considered in relation to their impact / sustainability of production and ability for re-use. As much as possible, there was an attempt to use familiar Australian materials. The structure is timber framed and uses locally sourced Australian Hardwood as cladding; seconds of Spotted Gum, Tasmanian Oak and Ironbark. Excessive use of steel or other virgin materials was limited as much as possible. The bessa block walls and paving can be seen as the most vernacular masonry option in the Adelaide, our ‘local stone’. The colours are slightly inspired by the weird colour combinations of Himalayan mountain huts, but very much the Pink Moon Saloon.

Pink-Moon-Saloon-By-Sans-Arc-Studio-16-David-Sievers-800x1200 Pink Moon Saloon / Sans-Arc Studio

© David Sievers

Project Data:

Project name: Pink Moon Saloon
Location: 21 Leigh St, Adelaide SA 5000, Australia
Coordinates: -34.923771, 138.597537
Type: Lounge / Bar / Restaurant / Night Clubs
Project Area: 102 sqm
Status: Built
Completion Date/Year: November 2015
Visit Pink Moon Saloon’s website: here


  • 2016 – Eat-Drink-Design Awards – Category: Best Bar Design – Winner
  • 2016 – Australian Interior Design Awards – Typology Categories: Hospitality Design – Shortlist
  • 2016 – Australian Institute of Architects Awards – SA Architecture Awards – The City of Adelaide Prize – Winner
  • 2016 – Restaurant and Bar Design Awards – Category: International / Australia & Pacific bar – Winner
  • 2016 – WIN Awards – Category: Bars – Shortlist

The people:

Client / Owner / Developer:
Interior Designer: Sans-Arc Studio – Level 3, 25 Leigh St. Adelaide SA 5000, Australia
Project Team: Matiya Marovich
Builder: Brojed Construction
Engineer: Ginos Engineers
Graphic design and propping: Peculiar Familia
Text Description: © Courtesy of Sans-Arc Studio, Pink Moon Saloon, Eat-Drink-Design Awards, SA Architecture Awards
Images: © Sans-Arc Studio, Pink Moon Saloon, David Sievers


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