The site for Walters Steakhouse is the heritage listed Old Mineral House in the Brisbane CBD, an example of an intact late Victorian era warehouse with classic detailing. Built in 1888 it started life as a machinery and hardware warehouse for RR Smellie & Co – a foundry and engineering works company producing cast iron products for building, steamships and locomotives. Walters occupies the ground floor with 5 metre high ceilings, brick walls and huge arched windows and doors. Old Mineral House is also opposite the Brisbane Botanic Gardens curated by Walter Hill (the restaurants namesake) from 1855 to 1881, responsible for introducing many species of plant from sugarcane to mangoes into Queensland made him a hugely significant figure in shaping Queensland culture.
The design of Walters is modelled on an old fashioned, service focused Brooklyn steak restaurant, the clients requested a mix of industrial grunge and classic design. In keeping with the clients brief the space was divided into bar and restaurant. With all patrons directed to the bar first for a drink before being escorted to their dining table by the maître de with the experience being very much a part of dining at Walters.
Pressed metal, timber, mosaic tile, leather and brass formed the majority of finishes chosen for the space. The use of the traditional materials reinforcing the authenticity of the design. To achieve the moody, timeless and mysterious ambience that the clients desired a tonal range of dark toned timbers, red leather and dark paint finishes form the largest part of the palette. Rich green velvet curtains and a black veined white marble bartop add texture and tone to the design.
Timber is the hero element throughout the space that ties the concept together – leading from the custom made furniture in the bar through to the bar face and bulkhead. With the large custom curved timber and red leather booth lounges continuing the timber element to the dining room.
Bespoke joinery is the most special feature of this fitout with everything from the furniture, bar face, bar detail edge and one of kind timber bulkhead suspended over the bar being custom designed and constructed.
Paying homage to the restaurants namesake, Walter Hill, the clients requested that a botanical theme be throughout the venue. As a stark contrast to the mainly meat offering of food the delicate nature of plants can be picked up throughout the venue through artwork, botanical illustrations and the biggest feature of the venue is the large bespoke mural by Brisbane artist Metagraphics.
Lighting was an integral part of the design and a lighting designer was engaged to deliver an amazing lighting outcome through decorative lighting only. The clients wanted the venue to be completely authentic without using any modern lighting methods or fittings.