FEEDING OUR IMAGINATIONS: SYDNEY'S MOST INSPIRING RESTAURANTS

As designers, we are continually translating the world into our work, taking inspiration from our surroundings to inform our projects in unique ways.

Restaurant interiors, particularly, are a constant source of inspiration, especially in Sydney where restaurateurs have fully embraced the old saying, ‘we eat first with our eyes.’ For us, dining out is an aesthetic experience as much as it is a culinary one, as we gobble up ideas for provocative compositions, creative use of colour and an enriching take of materials and textures.

We invite you to some of our favourite spots that feed our mouths and minds alike.

Franca – Potts Point

Image via Broadsheet

Image via Broadsheet

Franca is a little slice of Paris just a hop, skip and jump away from our studio; all charm and elegance with its cherry red velvet chairs, parquetry floors and marble detailing. You feel chic, and all at once at home and far away, simply sitting in one of their green leather booths.

Fred’s – Paddington

Image via Merivale

Image via Merivale

The moment you walk through the front door at Fred’s there is a distinct feeling of coming home. A home that is always warm and welcoming, with the most saliva-inducing scents wafting from the stove. The centre-piece is the open-plan kitchen complete with an island-bench and front row seats to the kitchen theatrics.

French farmhouse style is at work with its cream-painted bricks, wooden bench tops and a wall of vintage cutting boards, all adding to the week-long relaxed vibe usually only reserved for long Sunday lunches with family and friends.

Blanca – Bondi

Image via Broadsheet

Image via Broadsheet

True to its name, Blanca’s interior unfolds in a monochromatic palette of crisp, white textured walls with contrasting dark furniture. It’s minimal elegance at its best, reflecting the refined atmosphere of Bondi and drawing focus to the culinary adventure of Japanese Mediterranean fusion. Sometimes simple is best.

 Bert’s – Newport

Image via Delicious

Image via Delicious

Image via Broadsheet

Image via Broadsheet

Part high-end brasserie, part 1930’s holiday manor, stepping inside Bert’s is to be transported to an altogether more decadent, bygone era.

An olive green and pink palette continues the old-school attitude, while vintage tropical prints, pastel panelled walls and rattan furniture create a sense of vacation glamour, perfectly complimenting the seafood heavy menu.

Fonda – Bondi

Image via Yellowtrace

Image via Yellowtrace

Image via Yellowtrace

Image via Yellowtrace

A vibrant and youthful palette of rust, blush pink and powder blue welcomes those who walk through Fonda’s doors.

Studio Esteta, the team behind the restaurant’s fit out, took inspiration from modern Mexican architecture choosing curved and arch shapes to create a warm and welcoming setting that stays true to the brand’s motto of ‘mi casa, su casa.’

The textured wall finishes, rattan screens and rust-toned encaustic tiles all contribute to the feeling of stepping inside an authentic Mexican eatery.

Reign - Sydney

Image via Broadsheet

Image via Broadsheet

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Like the love-child of a Marie Antoinette palace and Millennial pink cocktail bar, Reign offers the kind of setting that demands decadent dinners and more than a few glasses of fizz.

The interior is a haven of blush pink tones and brass detailing. No luxury has been spared: marble clads almost every surface and Romanesque grand arched windows overlook Town Hall and George Street.

FATHER’S DAY GIFT IDEAS FROM THE STUDIO

Father’s Day is a particular breed of gift-giving mystery. You want something that conveys love and appreciation, but no doubt all he really wants is a new tie or a golf shirt. Needless to say options aren’t endless, which is why we’ve turned to luxe versions of everyday basics, plus some barware accoutrements for a tried-and-true way to his heart.

Emma Willis Slub Linen Robe    Just add coffee and the morning paper.

Emma Willis Slub Linen Robe

Just add coffee and the morning paper.

A Weekend Away at Freycinet Lodge’s Coastal Pavilion    Get him what we all want: an escape from city humdrum in an ocean-view lodge inspired by the natural landscape of the Apple Isle (not to mention the outdoor bathtub). He taught you how to ride your bike after all . . .

A Weekend Away at Freycinet Lodge’s Coastal Pavilion

Get him what we all want: an escape from city humdrum in an ocean-view lodge inspired by the natural landscape of the Apple Isle (not to mention the outdoor bathtub). He taught you how to ride your bike after all . . .

Costa Azzurra Eua De Parfum, Tom Ford    A no-fuss answer to the eternal head-scratcher that is buying presents for dad: cologne that smells like a refined version of what dads should smell like – smoky leather with hints of sweet raspberry and aromatic jasmine.

Costa Azzurra Eua De Parfum, Tom Ford

A no-fuss answer to the eternal head-scratcher that is buying presents for dad: cologne that smells like a refined version of what dads should smell like – smoky leather with hints of sweet raspberry and aromatic jasmine.

Winebreather Deluxe    A dad staple, but done right. This decanter imbues wine with 10 times the oxygen, using its clever flipping technique to aerate the wine as it runs through the large-surfaced carafe.

Winebreather Deluxe

A dad staple, but done right. This decanter imbues wine with 10 times the oxygen, using its clever flipping technique to aerate the wine as it runs through the large-surfaced carafe.

Ocean Bottle    A water bottle and planet-saver in one - talk about the gift that keeps on giving.

Ocean Bottle

A water bottle and planet-saver in one - talk about the gift that keeps on giving.

Tom Dixon Ice Bucket    Practical? Sort of. Chic on a bar unit? Absolutely.

Tom Dixon Ice Bucket

Practical? Sort of. Chic on a bar unit? Absolutely.

Linen shirt, Venroy    The button-down shirt: A Father’s Day classic if there ever was one, but this time in surprisingly unseasonal linen for a real luxury feel. Bountiful options in 11 different colourways.

Linen shirt, Venroy

The button-down shirt: A Father’s Day classic if there ever was one, but this time in surprisingly unseasonal linen for a real luxury feel. Bountiful options in 11 different colourways.

Rick Southwick Sterling Silver Cufflinks    Go full luxe with these handcrafted cufflinks made with tiger’s eye and white jade

Rick Southwick Sterling Silver Cufflinks

Go full luxe with these handcrafted cufflinks made with tiger’s eye and white jade

The Thinking Man’s Guide To Life    A night stand treasure full of the latest insights from psychology and neuroscience on every aspect of life, from leisure to work.

The Thinking Man’s Guide To Life

A night stand treasure full of the latest insights from psychology and neuroscience on every aspect of life, from leisure to work.

Q&A WITH STYLIST CLAIRE DELMAR

We stumbled across Claire Delmar’s name while admiring her work in the glossy pages of an interior magazine. Her compositions stood out as simultaneously beautiful in their simplicity and telling in their story-like quality.

We were immediately attracted to Claire’s moody, earthy and elegant style, and later to her impeccable attention to detail and tireless drive for perfection.

We revealed our Raglan Street project last month and this month it has been a pleasure to sit down with Claire, who brought her aptitude for colours and textures and eye for beautiful artwork and ceramics to Raglan’s shoot day. Here she talks inspiration, trends and life lessons.

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WHICH THREE WORDS BEST DESCRIBE YOU?

Fast, Focused and Food obsessed.

WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE GROWING UP?

I knew I wanted to do something creative from a very early age. My passions were art and textiles and after completing a Bachelor of Media I coincidently ended up in publishing as a Fashion Stylist. My mother is very creative so I grew up surrounded by her creativity in the kitchen and her eye for detail which was expressed through our home renovations.

 WHAT DID YOU DO TO EARN YOUR FIRST PAY PACKET?

I worked at a pasta shop but fainted a few weeks into my first shifts so it wasn’t a great start!

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WHAT'S THE BEST LIFE LESSON YOU HAVE LEARNT ALONG THE WAY?

That if you are having a hard time remember tomorrow is always a new day. Don’t let something get you down or stress you out too much because after a decent sleep it’s a fresh start and new perspective, and almost always, it isn’t as bad as you may have thought.

WHAT'S YOUR PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENT?

When I hear my children making each other laugh. Happiness is my biggest goal in life and I feel both my kids have a love for life, and each other, which makes me so proud.

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WHO INSPIRES YOU?

My beautiful Mum. She’s my muse and has always supported my creative work even though she comes from a background of science and my father from medicine.

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST VICE?

Food! I’m always talking or thinking about my next meal before I’ve finished the one I’m eating. I need to live more in the now and enjoy what’s in front of me. I coordinate my days around meals and if I’m sourcing I make sure I end up near a great cafe. My mum is an amazing cook and it’s something she has instilled in all her girls.

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DO YOU FOLLOW TRENDS OR ARE YOU A TRENDSETTER?

I tend not to follow trends but rather create from the space the project or client inhabit. It’s part of why I’ve enjoyed moving away from fashion. Interiors cross over many styles depending on the history of the space and I love that a building tells its own story and it isn’t just focusing on keeping up or following the latest trend.

WHAT DREAM DO YOU STILL WANT TO FULFIL?

I wish I had more time to travel with my children but apart from that I love what I do so I’m fulfilled through my career aspirations. I’m curious as to where it will all lead but have no specific end goal. For now I just hope to continue enjoying that every day is different, exciting and challenging. Challenge fuels my creative drive.

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WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT WORKING WITH AKD?

The AKD team. I’m at a stage in life where it’s all about the people and the collaborations that inspire me. I don’t want to be spending time away from my children unless it’s valued so I try and work with people that make me laugh and are as passionate about design as I am.

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Images 1 - 2 via Claire Delmar / Image 3 - 6 via ©Alexandra Kidd Design