The Bayside Lounge at the Sydney Convention Centre was the first venue I designed, while at Cox Richardson, back in 2006. It was a pretty special opportunity.
The functional brief was to create an all day cafe and dining venue with private boardroom and business centre on the upper level that was previously a corporate pub. to take advantage of the unused terrace that tourists would usually flake out and eat their sandwiches on.
To open it towards the Harbour.
The ephemeral brief was to connect the whole convention facility back to the Harbour, and the city, that it had turned its back on.
And this facility is the hub, the connection space, away from the name badge brigade convention delegates.
The driving material concept was using elements of reflectivity with a sense of movement, being intersected by vertical lines. The city scape reflected on the water. An acrylic sculptural wall detail.
Floating elements combined with fine horizontal lines and a single sweeping curve of the stair.
The original John Andrews Brutalist space had radial curves on split levels with a six metre high ceiling.
High ceiling are a challenge in a restaurant, but the city skyline views could not be lost.
The “Hollywood stair” was Executive Chef, Detlef Haupt’s idea to link the upper level Private dining. And a great excuse for me to have some fun with a major design feature.
The sides are all formed of mild steel, sanded, bogged and buffed, just like a car repair. Then spray painted on site.
Entrance to the private dining room on the upper level with a clear acrylic screen referencing the verticality of the glass towers across the harbour.
No glue whatsoever. All the pieces slotted in and were held by gravity. The polished edges reflected – ok, another water analogy.
The private dining room with an outlook over water to city lights to seduce the guests. Aubergine carpet and sage green leather Catifas.
I was extremely lucky to get to design a water feature. The client, CEO of SCEC, Ton Van Amerongen, wanted to “bring the harbour to the building”. So why not be literal! We needed to create a barrier for patrons dining on the terrace from the general unwashed, (can I say that?). So instead of dumb old planters, we did it with water. Still,l reflecting, black water, with an infinity edge. I learnt a lot about how water behaves.
The reference to the city skyline continues.
Love an abstract shot. Acrylic is lustrous.
Thanks to Tania Taylor and Anibal Cruz for team support.