Director of Gold Coast based design firm Scape Cubed Design Studio, Arran Woollams is the guy behind the stunning fitouts of some of your favourite Gold Coast venues.
As if he wasn’t busy enough, Arran Woollams is also part owner of Southport’s Mr PP’s Deli & Rooftop and a soon to be opened second rooftop bar in Southport, Last Night on Earth.
We sat down for a chat with Arran about his favourite local venue deigns and why Fear and Loathing are coming to the Gold Coast.
How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
28 years on the Coast. I came over from NZ when I was 11 in 1990 and started high school here.
What do you love most about this city?
Our relaxed lifestyle but also seeing the city grow. In the last 15 years we have seen some major changes in public infrastructure, international investment and world-renowned architecture.
Tell us about Space Cubed Design Studio and how that came about…
I started with Space Cubed in 2004 after working on the Gold Coast Convention Centre (GCCC) for another architectural practice. Space Cubed was founded in 1999 by Finn Jones who then went on to work for GCCC in 2010, which is when I took over as Director. We then focused the studio more towards hospitality design, which is about 90% of our work.
I had worked in both hospitality and construction prior to going to university so the transition to hospitality design just made sense. I believe having a good understanding of not only good design and functionality but also the day-to-day operations is essential in a successful hospitality venue.
You’re also the man behind the look of some of the Coast’s most popular venues, do you have a favourite design?
In the last 18 years Space Cubed has completed over 500 venues across Australia and overseas, from small kiosk to multi-level establishments. While designing these venues, you always have a personal connection to them, and there is nothing better than seeing other people enjoy the spaces you create. I have also become good friends with a lot of our clients. Two venues in Broadbeach – The Loose Moose and Mamasan, achieve the three main points; great service, food and of course, atmosphere which is what we work to achieve.
What’s the process in deciding how you want each space to look and feel?
With most venues, the client has a brief and vision, we then add our own experience and ideas to develop together. To me, place creation is very important and of course, making memorable spaces.
You’re about to open Last Night on Earth in Southport, tell us about that…
Last Night on Earth is the progression from the original Not Tonight. Not Tonight started as a number of things, cafe, bar and restaurant. I always felt it was a bit confusing for the customer on what we were, which was always a small bar. I have learnt from this and the last year of Not Tonight was focused on what we were, ‘Your Local Dive Bar’, a place where locals would just come to meet and have a couple of drinks and hang out. Last Night on Earth is also going up a level to create a roof deck space overlooking the historic buildings of Southport. There is also a focus on sustainability and minimising waste, so we are installing 30 beverage taps, with the main focus on independent breweries and also four wineries.
Why did you want to open your own venue?
When we started Not Tonight, it was the first small bar licence on the Gold Coast five years ago. I am passionate about Southport and it’s growth and we wanted to create a small bar that the locals could enjoy. The experience of owning and opening my own venue assists in designing venues for clients, as there is an understanding of the day to day issues, operations and how we can design better.
What else is in the pipeline for 2018?
The last two years has been especially busy with Space Cubed, Mr PP’s Deli & Rooftop and Last Night on Earth, so for the last part of the year, I will be taking some time off with my partner for travelling. It’s important to keep refreshing your ideas and putting your own experiences into design.
What’s the best piece of life advice you’ve ever received?
Surround yourself with people that you respect and listen to people that are more experienced than you.