Part Time Lover

Part Time Lover

Sans-Arc Studio
Adelaide SA, Australia | View Map
Project Year
Thomas McCammon

Part Time Lover

Sans-Arc Studio as Architects

Part Time Lover appears as an oasis in the inner city of Adelaide. A light, timber pavilion housing an all-day-diner, nestled among some of the city's most significant buildings.


What is truly innovative about this project?

The project embraces custom design and manufacturing throughout; five and eight meter long custom linear pendant lights illuminate the bar and banquette seating. Fixed and loose furniture has been adjusted to cope with a fall of 200mm across the space – meaning each seat has its place within the room. The curves, whilst playing to an aesthetic, create flow and movement through the space, making operation and visiting a smooth experience. The operable boundary windows connect the building to its context, immersing the customer in greenery, historic buildings, and soft, warm light.


What was the brief?

The brief was for the venue to be a ‘bistro’, an older sibling to the owner’s other venue; Whistle & Flute, a watering hole for people in the city. It would be there to service the area; a warm, bright moment tucked away in a quiet, central spot. The design of the venue needed to feel good and work well from morning coffee to evening wine.

Our concept for Part Time Lover was simple - a bustling all-day-diner, full of light, greenery, a nice breeze and a bit of a buzz. Hidden in a laneway with beautiful old buildings all around, it is a modernismo-timber-pavilion sitting proudly upon a little green outcrop. The building itself opens to its surrounds, slightly elevated above ground level, it creates some privacy for its occupants whilst emitting an inviting glow to passers-by. Internally there are contrasts of new textures against old, Carlo Scarpa inspired strong volumes and sculptural forms. These forms direct people through the space, flowing between entrances the occupant is subtly guided around the room.


Why is the project an example of good design?

The project embraces and works with its historical context, maintaining the existing Mintaro slate flooring and using the stone boundary wall as banquette seating. The material selections subtly contrast and complement these materials, hand-selected blonde WRC timber, brown terrazzo, white concrete and muted green tiles. The aesthetic is modern and bold, but sympathetic to its surrounds.

The division of space and management of traffic flow is unique to Part Time Lover. There are three pathways across the room, one for staff, one easy route on the southern end of the site, and one through the middle. This walkway through the middle is key, the U-shaped counter is a focal point, a moment of theatre where a bartender shakes a cocktail. It is also pinch point within the space, discouraging you from cutting through, but catching people, encouraging them to push and interact with those clustered around that spot.

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