Pascale Gomes-McNabb

For the visionary and co-owner behind such restaurants as ‘Cutler and Co’ and ‘Cumulus Inc’, good food and good design are inextricably linked. Pascale Gomes-McNabb, who graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture in 1997, has made a career out of designing chic interiors for restaurants.

Pascal Gomes-McNabb

Pascale is an architect and interior designer with a passion for hospitality. As well as operating her successful Melbourne restaurants, she has recently completed the ‘Bentley Restaurant & Bentley Bar’ in Sydney – described by food critic John Lethlean as ‘unabashedly sexy’ – and ‘Claude’s’, a small modern bistro/bar which is akin to a piece of massive jewellery.

Pascale’s interest in restaurant interiors’ grew out of her experience of working in hospitality as a university student, where she quickly developed a love for the pace, colour and design potential of restaurants. For this talented young designer who grew up in a family of architects, hospitality venues became the obvious arena for her creativity and evolving career.

Pascale’s restaurant spaces are carefully planned, both visually and spatially, with acute attention to materials, fixtures and fittings. Her inherent understanding of how a kitchen operates and the flow of service informs the way she defines and illuminates the space.

She has a keen sense of the importance of the interface between the customer, restaurant proper and its staff.

“Food and wine are enhanced by a comfortable and interesting environment,” says Pascale. “There are many facets to a good hospitality venue. Essentially it is a balancing act, layering elements of good service, food, wine and design to create a particular product and ambience/atmosphere.”

Pascale’s design style is essentially intuitive.

“For each project there are various considerations that need to be addressed; the site, the client brief, budget a few among other criteria. However inspiration is something intangible,” she says. “A word; a piece of art; a fleeting reference to something that I saw or heard; a moment in time. There are many points of inspiration.”

So, what attributes or skills does Pascale believe young graduates need to succeed as designers in Australia?

“Determination, as well as talent,” she says. “Be nice and know what your strengths and weaknesses are.” In relation to more women working in her field, she believes confidence is key to navigate the workplace and that the design industry should value women more and show it by providing vital benefits such as maternity pay.

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