A Playful Touch: Light Years Asian Diner in Byron Bay by Studio Plenty.
Byron Bay’s beloved Light Years Asian Diner has received an update by the boutique local practice Studio Plenty. The design scheme explores tonality and texture to capture the playful personality of the hospitality hotspot and to refine and level up the brand.
Undertones of sensibility are threaded through an overtly playful series of dining spaces. Although the interior feels harmonised, each zone is given its own gradient and materiality to create distinct spatial identities. Working with Sarah Ellison on a complementary furniture concept, this scheme represents an elevated departure from the restaurant’s humble beginnings.
This is the first solo project for architect Will Rathgeber, founder of Studio Plenty, who has worked for Jackson Clements Burrows Architects and Woods Bagot in Melbourne, currently working part-time at Harley Graham Architects. “Studio Plenty is a small Byron Bay practice that opts for sensibility in design over all else,” Will elaborates. “Plenty is our opposing attitude to the common state that more means happiness. Our ideology is an antithesis to this mindset. Simply put—that’ll be plenty, cheers.”
Where this project shows its vigour is in its determination to remain locally grounded. During the design process, Will engaged local talent in an effort to help the design be positively influenced by threads of local culture and context—which, in turn, forms part of the fabric experienced by patrons. Alongside Sarah Ellison’s furniture concept, Will worked with local artist Heath Wae on two distinct murals that work to break up the wash of tonal terracotta.
Studio Plenty implemented commonplace sustainable practices such as hard-wearing materials and finishes to ensure an enduring fit-out. High ceilings are maintained to maximise natural light and ensure natural ventilation for patron comfort and air quality.
With diners also in Burleigh, Noosa and Newcastle—and a sister venue called Moonlight Byron Bay—this revamped original remains the crown jewel in the stable, and now it feels all grown up.
[Images courtesy of Studio Plenty. Photography by Jessie Prince.]