sydney deco classic

1 city mutual, sydney 1936-66hunter st 2

I am staying with the Art Deco theme here to share with you one of my favourite Sydney historical buildings, which I helped create a new life for in 2005. The City Mutual Building on the corner of Hunter and Bligh streets is a uniquely Sydney deco masterpiece, with its sandstone clad zig-zag serrated façade and classic New York style stepped towers with lines and finials leading the eye upward, . . .

1city mutual, sydney 2012

Kyko Group developers, the owners of the building, engaged Tania Taylor and Myself at Cox Richardson to design a base full building interior  upgrade so it could become strata offices. The building had been kept in good condition and the first three heritage listed floors of interiors are intact and well preserved.

city mutual 1936 1

Constructed in 1936, City Mutual Building is culturally significant at a national level as a rare, intact example of Art Deco architecture. On it’s completion, it was lauded as Sydney’s tallest ‘skyscraper’. The building is recognized as the finest achievement in this style by its notable architect, Emil Sodersteen. An utopian symbol of strength, boldness and hope for a new era after the great depression?

city mutual 1936 2

Love seeing the beautiful 1920s style motor vehicles and tram. I have walked up those stairs into that intact lobby, many times to visit my clients.

city mutual 1936- lobby

The ground floor lobby is completely intact and features bronze detailing, a mail chute which runs the whole way up and marble and scagliola wall linings. ( Scagliola is an artisian  technique where a composite substance is made from selenite, glue and natural pigments, imitating marble and then polished with flax oil for brightness, and wax for protection. The scagliola technique came into fashion in 17th-century Tuscany as an effective substitute for costly marble inlays,created for the Medici family in Florence)

I felt honoured to have the opportunity to help continue and create a new life for this grand old deco dame.

city mutual, sydney 1936-66 detail

The facade incorporated bronze sculptural reliefs by Rayner Hoff, who was well known from his work at the Hyde Park Anzac Memorial. Portal over the entry. The subject of a well built man protecting his family is symbolism of life assurance?

war memorial

The Hyde Park Anzac Memorial interior is sublime.

city mutual syd 2006 LOBBY2

In a nutshell the City Mutual Building, 66   Hunter St, Sydney, was a commercial heritage 12 floor base building upgrade & 7 marketing suites. Bronze and black flooring and with crema marble clad walls with inlay bronze detailing. Kyko have a dedicated commitment and understanding of the process required, to bring quality interior construction and detailing to a heritage building they also thoughtfully selected the artworks with us for every level.

city mutual, sydney ACruz

Kyko’s vision included dividing up one floor into seven sales display suites that would each have their own distinct personality. This was a lot of fun. we all pitched in and designed a suite or two. This one by Anibal Cruz

city mutual, sydney Ckim

The Travel suite by Catherine Schreiber.

city mutual, sydney jcondon suite

The advertising one by myself. We resisted the temptation to do a deco reproduction suite.

rockpool-grant cheyene

The ground floor insurance chamber is a remarkably well preserved heritage interior, the former  insurance retail chamber with 8 metre high ceilings. The scagliola Egyptian style heptagonal columns soar through the space and illuminated side light, bronze framed glass screens give the space grandeur and lightness.


An interior façade with simple lead lighting leading the eye up to the figurative ceiling motif and smooth ceiling coffers.


The Balcony overlooking the famous Rockpool Restaurant, Sydney with amazing scagliola finish columns.


Neil Perry’s Rockpool Bar and Grill which occupies the chamber, was designed by Grant Cheyne with Bates Smart.  The restaurant design is understated and recessive, allowing the heritage listed deco grandeur to be the hero. The Spice Temple is below.

city mutual, sydney 1936-66hunter st 01

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