Architecture studio de La Vega Architects chose Tasmanian Blackwood timber for the interiors of Mama Fuego, an upscale restaurant in London, to bring the 60s and 70s-themed design to life.

A 700-square-metre restaurant located near London’s North Greenwich Pier, Mama Fuego offers a fusion menu of South American and Australian cuisine, making the use of Australian timber perfect for the luxurious fit-out.

Crafted by Justin Macri and his team at their Sydney-based facility Metric Joinery, the venue’s joinery, bar tops, kitchen, coffee counters, wine fridge, sunken lounge, tables, wall panelling, banquet seating, and feature zig-zag half wall, are all made from Tasmanian Blackwood. The warm tones of the sustainably sourced 50 cubic metres of Tasmanian Blackwood can be experienced throughout the space.

“It was the first time I had used Blackwood and the timber performed beautifully. I really enjoyed working with the Blackwood and the client loved how the few Blackwood elements were coming together so much that the amount of Blackwood specified tripled in size,” says Macri.

The architects collaborated with the joinery facility to ensure modular construction of all the Blackwood elements; these pieces were manufactured in Sydney to be easily dismantled with knock-down connections and then shipped overseas to London where the pieces were assembled like a puzzle.

Using state-of-the-art technology alongside traditional methods such as wood turning to create 200mm diameter expertly designed and crafted table legs, each Blackwood piece was hand-finished with a Danish oil to showcase the timber’s natural lustre as well as achieve perfection in the final product.

“We always employ the latest technology in all of our projects, but the finishing touches are done by hand. The workability of the Blackwood enabled us to achieve a great end result. Blackwood is a beautiful product,” says Macri.

Tasmanian timbers go global

While Tasmanian Blackwood remains a favourite amongst joiners, architects and furniture makers within Australia, Tasmanian Timber is going places globally.

Shawn Britton, managing director of leading Australian timber supplier Britton Timbers says they’ve noticed the increasing interest of architects and designers abroad in Tasmanian Blackwood.

“Over the past five years, we have seen a steady increase in demand for Tasmanian Blackwood from international clientele, primarily the USA, Japan, Korea and the UK. As Blackwood is so versatile for internal fit-out, joinery and furniture, we have found that some international customers involved in architecture and design are looking for something different to the standard American species that they have specified for years,” says Britton.

“Britton Timbers have been exporting small volumes of Tasmanian Blackwood for decades and while it is not available in huge volumes like some species, it is readily available – direct from Tasmania, in a range of solid timber of varying dimensions as well as decorative veneer and panel products,” added Britton.

High quality Blackwood timber has been primarily sourced from the swamps of north-west Tasmania for more than a century. This resource has been the cornerstone of Tasmania’s fine furniture industry over that time and Britton feels proud to see Tasmanian timbers entering the upscale international market.

“Having seen the completed project first hand in London, I can attest that the finished article is simply stunning and it certainly makes me proud to see our Tasmanian timber used in such a high profile project in London. There are not many species in the world as beautiful as Tasmanian Blackwood that you would have confidence shipping the finished article across the equator pre-fabbed ready to fit together on the other side of the globe,” concluded Britton.

Images: Kate Darkins Photography