Michael and Eleena Tan’s agency, Brandworks, has not only designed cutting edge hospitality brands and spaces, it’s also redesigned how a creative business can run.
In the shadow of Rialto Towers lies an eclectic collection of food and drink retailers. Together known as The Archway, the 517 Flinders Lane location started as 400 square metres of unused space.
The rejuvenation and curation project is the biggest single location in Melbourne tackled by BrandWorks, a hospitality branding and design agency run by couple Eleena and Michael Tan.
Working with the landlord, BrandWorks cut the space into six retail stores, branded it and curated the space by working with young food retail entrepreneurs to fill the stores.
The agency also designed branding, interiors or both for several of the occupants, which comprise outlets for bagels, Indian food, sweets, coffee, organic juice and dumplings.
This type of ‘precinct planning’ represents an evolution of the agency’s speciality. It stems from the agency’s work in interior design, which itself began almost accidentally as an extension of brand design for hospitality businesses.
It makes sense, since a store’s environment is the most physical extension of a brand’s look and feel. Aside from the food, of course – if that’s no good, no amount of marketing magic can help.
In the years since launching, BrandWorks has become known as the first stop for entrepreneurial restaurateurs who need help taking an idea from concept to opening.