A Contemporary Agrarian Vision: Juno Eatery by Ritz & Ghougassian.
Nearly two years after Prior Thornbury’s successful opening, founder Ahmed Mekawy commissioned Ritz & Ghougassian once again to establish another restaurant, with an interior that embodied a cosy, lo-fi atmosphere. Juno—named after the Roman Goddess known for aid, rejuvenation and youthfulness—is a restaurant that beckons good conversation and appreciation for origins of food from farm to the plate.
Located in McKinnon, Victoria, Juno is a restaurant and retail space designed to host eighty people. The venue sits on the ground floor of the concrete-clad MCKN Apartments (also by Ritz & Ghougassian), visible from the street with its façade framed with large welcoming windows. Similar to its sibling restaurant Prior, Juno’s interior is rather straightforward with the dining area wrapped around like an L-shape, with the kitchen quarters tucked at the south of the restaurant space. A courtyard is located towards the southeast corner, screened with glazing to filter soft light within.
The concept of Juno is based on the agrarian vision, which is the understanding on the cultivation and origins of our food sources. This vision is expanded into a timeless, minimal and rustic interior, with the overall layout dictated with the fibreglass grid held together by timber frames. Storage partitions from barn doors are constructed with a simple cross timber pattern, which are also covered with the same fibreglass seen in the ceiling panels used to conceal the services above. The overall aesthetic illuminates a washi-door ambience—emitting a soft effect against the hard concrete structures and walls that shape the shell of the eatery.
A small difference within the interior is noticeable on the eastern side where the entrance is located. Upon entry, patrons are greeted by a monochrome concrete palette of stone floor paving and a concrete wall that features a whimsical mural designed by Melbourne artist Bobby Clark. The entrance, also referred to as the marketplace, is grounded by a simple timber and glass pastry display. Behind the elegant counter is a series of shelves lined with products displayed against the courtyard glazing.
Stepping past the entrance and into the dining area on the west is a harmonious curation of bespoke tables and chairs resting on timber flooring. The use of timber blends yet adds contrast as the porosity of the shelving allows products to be displayed, adding a splash of colour and a demarcation of different programs within the interior.
With the warm weather calling, Juno Eatery may be the next perfect brunch place to enjoy a taste of homeliness. With a calming atmosphere, soft light and a palette of warm and rustic tones, diners are bound to quite literally taste the atmosphere as they enjoy the future culinary experiments of the eatery.
[Images courtesy of Ritz & Ghougassian. Photography by Tom Ross.]