Situated in Australia’s premier surf park, URBNSURF, iconic hospitality chain the Three Blue Ducks has opened its largest and most operationally complex venue to date. With an expansive outdoor poolside dining area and unobstructed views across the sparkling two-hectare surf lagoon, the 1,600-square-metre restaurant, which is housed in a new building with an industrial, corrugated steel shell, has 400 seats on the ground floor, the mezzanine and alfresco dining areas. The eatery incorporates Big River Group’s Armourpanel decorative plywood to help frame the building’s industrial aesthetic with a natural colour and warmth.

“The client wanted the space to be a reflection of their brand and in fitting with their existing venues, they were looking for a certain authenticity through warm and tonal materials which we knew Armourpanel could deliver,” says Tom Walker from MIC Projects.

Keeping in mind the designer’s brief to create an authentic space, MIC Projects used Big River Armourpanel in Spotted Gum for the wall linings and joinery. Having previously worked with the leading timber supplier they knew it could deliver the right warmth and tone to complement the desired aesthetic, as well as having confidence that the product was durable enough for such a high traffic, commercial space.

The space is layered with natural materials, colours and textures. On the restaurant’s ground floor, Shou Sugi Ban charred timber was used to panel the bar and walls while galvanised steel sheets serve as a backsplash, the countertops and floors are made from hardwearing polished concrete. While on the mezzanine level the richness of Spotted Gum covers every surface giving consistency to the warm tones that accompany the industrial fabric of the fit out.

“The depth of colour and unique timber characteristics of each panel not only gave the desired authenticity to the project, complementing the industrial palette, but provided the security of knowing it was a hard-wearing product to stand the test of time,” says Tom.

Armourpanel is Australia’s strongest decorative plywood, designed, tested and approved to tolerate extremes of heat and humidity and to resist shrinkage. Every panel is made from layers of Australian eucalypt hardwood veneers bonded together to form a strong, solid, stable panel. Its tolerance of changes in ambient temperatures and its toughness make it ideal for hard wearing areas.

Tom continues, “The range of product thicknesses allow it to be used for floors and walls, as well as furniture and cabinetry, enabling a well curated and crafted palette of natural materials to be employed in the design. We have specified Big River’s timbers on many projects. It is such a beautiful product to work with, we have always been satisfied with their services and timber products, and quality and care of customer support in their sales and technical teams.”