Dezeen Magazine

Neon lighting illuminates Strip Joint Chicken by Amanda Hamilton

Canadian studio Amanda Hamilton Interior Design has used bold colour-blocking and neon lighting to give this Calgary chicken shop a "1990s meets Memphis" feel.

Strip Joint Chicken in the city's East Village neighbourhood is a fast-casual restaurant that serves "chicken fingers with a twist".

Midnight blue vestibule with neon strips across the walls and ceiling
A dark entrance vestibule sets the tone for Strip Joint Chicken's dining space beyond

The brand is fun, playful and cheeky, so the interiors of its 2,200-square-foot (204-square-metre) space needed to reflect this.

Working with a return client, Amanda Hamilton Interior Design leant fully into the "offbeat" concept, creating an elevated interpretation of a seedy bar or nightclub that founder Amanda Hamilton described as "1990s meets Memphis".

The words "Strip Joint" written on a wall in a striped typeface
A trio of colourful stripes is used to guide customers to the ordering area, and also spells out the brand's name on the wall

"At times subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) design elements take a nod (or a big ol' bow) playing to the restaurant's name," said the designer. "In a market saturated with options for fast casual, standing out was key."

The main entrance vestibule is painted midnight blue and illuminated by vertical bands of neon lighting that connect wall-to-wall across the ceiling. This immersive passageway sets the tone for the main dining area, which is similarly lit with neon.

Fluorescent-blue neon tubes suspended above a service counter
Tangles of fluorescent-blue neon tubes are suspended above the service counter

Tangled fluorescent-blue tubes are positioned above the bar and service counter, while pink and yellow glow from LED strips within large colour-blocked arches that accommodate built-in seating for a row of dining tables.

"Coloured lighting is used extensively to feature architectural details, enhance volumetric space, ground the bar and highlight seating areas," Hamilton said.

Pink arched niche with built-in seating and dining tables
LED strips illuminate colour-blocked arched niches, which accommodate bench seating

Part of a larger retail space that was divided into four units, the chicken shop is accessible from both sides of the building.

Therefore, close attention was paid to the flow of people through the space, and wayfinding tools were implemented to assist both dine-in and take-out customers.

A trio of arched niches lit up in pink and yellow
The arched niches provide space for dine-in guests to enjoy their chicken out the way of take-out customers

A trio of thin, coloured stripes are inlaid across floors to guide hungry patrons to the ordering area.

The same triple-line motif spells out the brand's name in large letters across a wall, above a pink scallop-topped bench accompanied by small tables and terrazzo stools.

Custom-designed feathery wallpaper adorns the back of the central arch and inside the "tender neutral" bathrooms, which are tucked behind bright pink doors.

For guests wishing to stay longer, a private dining area named the Hens Den is obscured from view by gauzy drapery.

Bathroom interior with feathery wallpaper
Custom feathery wallpaper adorns the bathroom interiors

This monochromatic room features a brass pole in the centre of its dining table, around which a lazy susan for sharing food rotates.

"As an extension of the space, the predominately custom furniture is equal parts playful and sculptural, creating a conversation-worthy addition to the space," Hamilton said.

Bathroom with feathery wallpaper and a bright pink door
Located behind bright pink doors, the bathrooms are designated as "tender neutral"

The designer founded her eponymous studio in Calgary, where she's based, and also operates a second location out of Vancouver.

A trend for bright psychedelia in hospitality and entertainment spaces has been gaining pace recently, with other examples found in Seattle's Supernova nightclub and the Resonant Head music venue in Oklahoma City.

The photography is by Joel Klassen.