Cool Spaces: Saigon Suzy

WORDS Amelia Brown IMAGES Graeme Wyllie

The interiors of Rosebank’s new Asian BBQ rock ‘n’ roll bar were designed by Tristan du Plessis, designer and founder of boutique interior architecture firm Studio A. Tristan shares some insider insights on the project.

What was the brief?

A strong driver behind the design was the owners’ passion for creating an experience beyond just an aesthetically appealing space. As such the brief was to turn an old pool shop on Jan Smuts into a playful interpretation of a Pan-Asian street market experience that would appeal to a varied customer base.

Describe your inspiration, the aesthetic and how you achieved it? 

The restaurant was inspired by the Pan-Asian street food experience, a place where an undiscovered alleyway could become a culinary adventure. The space is meant to feel like a world all of its own – stepping off the sidewalk on Jan Smuts into Saigon Suzy should feel like a transportive experience.

We created an Asian back-alley street-market feel in the interior by using authentic cobbled paving, jade green marble accents, and a canopy of hundreds of suspended antique Asian umbrellas. Two aged murals of women overlook the space and kitsch-but-cool karaoke rooms are hidden upstairs.

The overall feel of the space is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously – authentic with a contemporary twist, fun and experiential. We used industrial leather and steel chairs from Neil Grantham Studio in Johannesburg, wall lights from Diesel with Moroso and antique pieces sourced from Asia.

Were there any challenges?  

The main challenge was creating a 60-seater restaurant that feels like a large, multi-faceted space.

What is your favourite element?   

The painstakingly sourced vintage posters on the roof are my favourites, alongside the canopy of umbrellas.

What, in your opinion, makes Saigon Suzy stand out?  

I think the fact that the space is designed to feel like a back-alley experience. (And the secret karaoke rooms are definitely a drawcard as well.)

Saigon Suzy is located at 144 Jan Smuts Ave, Parkwood, and is open daily from midday to midnight.