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.

PRINTS CHARMING: WEAR YOUR ‘ART ON YOUR SLEEVE THIS VALENTINE’S DAY

One of the most frequently asked questions we receive on our social media pages is ‘Where is that artwork from?!’

It would appear that our inspired followers are on a mission to fill their hearts and homes with beautiful artwork. And we don’t blame them!

We are fortunate to have collaborated with some incredible artists such as Kerry Armstrong, Marisa Purcell and Antonia Perricone Mrljak, each of whom have not only made a long-lasting impression in the spaces that our clients inhabit, but have also left a mark of admiration firmly printed on our hearts.

We will always have our favourites, but with plenty of fish in the sea we’re constantly on the lookout for emerging artists and hidden gems that are ‘just right’ for our projects. So what better time of year – than the season of love itself – to open our little black book on the galleries and artwork suppliers where you can browse or buy some impressive pieces for someone you love (including yourself of course!).

Few gifts are more memorable, impactful, personal or as long-lasting as art, and taking the time to choose the perfect piece for your special someone is a superlative romantic gesture. So why not put your ‘art on your sleeve this Valentines’ Day?

‘Still Life #2’ by Ali McNabney-Stevens

‘Still Life #2’ by Ali McNabney-Stevens

STUDIO GALLERY MELBOURNE, MELBOURNE

Studio Gallery Melbourne works with a broad collective of artists from emerging through to advanced career stages, so not only do they have something for every taste, but also every price point.

For our Victorian followers, they have two beautiful spaces in Cheltenham and Armadale, as well as stocking a range of limited-edition prints that you can purchase (and frame) online.

We’re currently obsessing over the exuberant colours in this ‘Still Life #2’ print by Ali McNabney-Stevens, it would make a unique gift for any hard-to-shop for lover.

BECKER MINTY, SYDNEY

Just a hop, skip and a jump away from our Potts Point studio, you will often find us roaming around the Becker Minty store in search for treasures.

Handpicked by owner Jason Minty (a man with impeccable taste), the store’s collection of artwork features an impressive range of Australian and international artists, and a to-die-for collection of Vintage art too.

One such artist is Antonia Perricone Mrljak, whose abstract works we are loving and featured in our Hunters Hill House project.

Artwork by Antonia Perricone Mrljak from Becker Minty as seen in our    Hunters Hill House    project.

Artwork by Antonia Perricone Mrljak from Becker Minty as seen in our Hunters Hill House project.

ART2MUSE, SYDNEY

’Local Wetlands’ Peter Watts

’Local Wetlands’ Peter Watts

Another local favourite, Double Bay’s Art2Muse showcases a range of established artists at affordable prices.

If you’re looking to browse rather than buy, the gallery is hosting an exhibition of Australian landscape artist Peter Watt from 5 – 18 February 2019.

Watt’s theatrical cloud formations and depictions of moody sunsets will provide a romantic and intimate backdrop for your Valentine’s date.

OLSEN GALLERY

‘Post Truth’ by George Bryne

‘Post Truth’ by George Bryne

Olsen Gallery is a treasure trove for Aussie artists. Gallery founder and director Tim Olsen has cultivated a range of artists that present a comprehensive view of our home-grown talent.

Sydney artist George Bryne is exhibiting his L.A. series ‘Local Division’ at the gallery this Valentine’s season. Take a travel-obsessed lover to browse his vibrant and sun-drenched shots or make an impression with a bold and timeless gift.

Image 1 via Studio Gallery Melbourne / Image 2 via Alexandra Kidd Design / Image 3 via Art2Muse / Image 4 via Olsen Gallery

AKD LOVES CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS WITH . . .

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ALEX, AKD DIRECTOR

Christmas is my favourite holiday and time of the year. Everyone is buzzing with the excitement of a year complete and some much needed and anticipated time off. The sun is shining, the beach is calling and the fairy lights are twinkling. It’s magic on all fronts.

My family and I head to my spiritual home of Byron Bay. Perfect summer dreams are made of beach mornings, lazy lunches, siestas, afternoon ice cream runs and scrabble and cocktails on the deck at sunset. Repeat!   

This year I am focusing on complete relaxation. My new idea of luxury is time, space and deep breaths . . . This beautiful incense burner will get me in the mood for some R&R and the Rose Quartz Facial Roller will leave my skin feeling younger every day. All the while, you will see me living in this Evangeline dress all summer long. Not a pump, hair straightener or laptop in sight!


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JULIA, STUDIO MANAGER

This year the husbabe and I are road tripping to Brisvegas to spend Christmas with my side of the family. We’ve done the coastal drive a few times over the years and have built up a Christmas CD collection to entertain us on the 12-hour adventure and really get us into the festive spirit upon arrival.

We’ve both been on a bit of a health kick of late so we’re consciously going to try to ‘keep up the good work’ as we enter holiday mode! To help us in our quest and get off to a good start we’ll be packing healthy homemade lunches and snacks to avoid all temptation along the way. These Ekobo lunch boxes make any salad on the go super sexy and satisfying.

And when we arrive in the Sunshine State, we’ll be doing our best to balance relaxation with our regular exercise routine. Whilst we’re seriously contemplating packing our own dumbbells, I wish Santa would leave this gorgeous Carrara Dumbbell set under the tree just for me!

Once we’ve worked up a sweat and hard-earned thirst, you’ll find me sipping on a tall glass of iced Spice 94 Seedlip, a complex and festive blend of Jamaican allspice berry, cardamom and citrus – and completely non-alcoholic! Cheers to those hot (and healthy!) tropical holidays!


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SIMONA, INTERIOR DESIGN ASSISTANT

For me, Christmas is all about spending time with loved ones, eating yummy food, and enjoying everything summer has to offer.

I’m looking forward to the Christmas chaos of friends and family coming and going, the warmer weather overstaying it’s welcome, and having little downtime between one good meal to the next! I love seeing everyone pull together new outfits for Christmas day lunch and I think these gorgeous Mimco shoes will do me nicely!

Christmas is a time to relax and unwind, so I will be spending most of my days at the beach, shore-hopping along Sydney’s beautiful coastline, where my new Apple AirPods will come in handy as I take in the endless views. And when I’m done spending my days by the water, I will be catching up with friends over late alfresco lunches, which will linger leisurely into balmy dinners. To keep the mood relaxed yet stylish, this Gucci belt will take any outfit from day to night.


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MADDIE, JUNIOR INTERIOR DESIGNER

My Christmas staycation plan is all about being a tourist in my own city! My goal is to visit as many of Sydney’s magical beaches as possible, with sand between my toes and beach bag in hand.

To extend the summer day vibes long into the night, I’ll be swapping beachwear for drink wear with easy-going summer accessories such as the ‘Woman in Bath’ scarf which forms part of the Aje. collaboration with Wendy Whiteley and the Brett Whiteley studio. This wearable artwork print depicts Sydney’s foreshores and will pair perfectly with a chilled glass of Veuve Colorama Clicquot Rose in hand. I love that this Veuve collection has drawn inspiration from a tube of paint, paying tribute to colour mixing and blending know-how. And my perfect Summer would not be complete without consuming cheese platters on a daily basis, which I plan on doing in style, of course!


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STUART, INTERIOR ARCHITECT

Even though I’m nearly 40, Christmas is still my favourite time of year. I think I get even more excited now that I have two young children, who keep the magic and anticipation of Santa’s arrival alive. More importantly, however, Christmas for me is about spending quality time with my whole family, enjoying each others company over good food, good wine and good times! Unwrapping a gift or two from my wish list is always an added bonus.

This year I have my eye on this Bally man bag, the perfect carryall from home to the studio. And from the studio to the open road, I would love some new luggage to set the mood for some future getaways and mini breaks. This Tom Ford bag would make the perfect travel accessory. Let’s see if Santa gets the memo this year . . .


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JESSICA, INTERIOR DESIGNER

Christmas holidays have always been the perfect time for me to wrap up the year, reflect on the changes in my life and spend some precious moments with my family.

This year will be no exception and I will be busy preparing for the arrival of our new baby boy, making sure to add the special touches to his future room like these beautiful prints made in Byron Bay by a local artist.

In between delicious meals, day trips to the beach and local parks, I will be resting as much as I can with these luxurious Slip accessories for naps and nighttime.

Looking ahead to the very happy (yet sleep deprived and totally overwhelmed!) mummy I will be in February, I would love to treat myself to the ultimate gift of time & beauty . . . the Dyson Airwrap. Apparently it’s life changing!  


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DEMI, INTERIOR DESIGNER

It’s no secret that I love spending time in the kitchen, and at Christmas I channel my inner Nigella and delve deep into the world of sweet treats and baking. Each year I create a gingerbread house as a festive (and delicious!) table centrepiece – a tradition that I started with my friend years ago, and although she now resides in London, we still hold our annual gingerbread making event via Skype!

A title missing from my ever-expanding library is How to Be a Domestic Goddess which is (also not-so-secretly) my ultimate goal! I can’t wait to pore over the pages of this classic baking bible and share the comfort that sugar and butter provides with my loved ones. 

To help in my Domestic Goddess quest, my Persian manfriend has introduced me to the world of Persian cooking resulting in an overflowing spice pantry full of fragrant flavours. This porcelain mortar and pestle is calling my name as I dream of saffron ice-cream . . .

Speaking of dreaming, to elevate my kitchen counter to Goddess status, the Smeg x Dolce & Gabanna collection that I discovered and fell in love with whilst in Milan earlier this year, will bring a touch of Italian whimsy to my culinary adventures all year round!


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