Tasked with countering the vast white minimalist foyer,
Defined by what Luchetti describes as a “loose luxury”, the interiors are richly layered. Complementary tonal shifts pair with interesting combinations of tiles and wall finishes, plus screens and breeze blocks for varying transparencies. “Layered textures, spiced tonal triggers and punchy patterns were selected to energise the drinking spaces with a graceful attitude that prioritised home comforts,” says Luchetti.
The blackbutt timber lattice screens in particular are interesting with large vertical expanses used to create rooms within rooms without truncating visual depth. This same lattice is also used as soffits that delineates space and again has the effect of creating rooms within rooms. Expanding transparency further, Patricia Urquiola’s Celosia Montgri breeze blocks add a warm touch to the wall separating rear lounge and alfresco seating.
Tiles are similarly varied and interesting. The rear lounge, for example, has a Carrara marble fan mosaic floor (Teranova), while the fireplace plinth in the ocean-facing lounge incorporates a glazed Yohen Border (Academy), pacific Bluestone batons (Eco Outdoors), and Aquarzo quartzite (Artedomus) was used for the plinth while the ocean-facing lounge’s floor is inset with a ‘rug’ of Chicago Indian Green and Carrara mosaic (Terranova).
Holding centre-stage is the bar. Naturally. However, the room was closed off and the bar was too high, making for an unsettling combination that hardly said relax.
“Our clients requested replacing it with an island configuration but we upcycled instead, extending its length, adding curved returns and a protruding centre that welcomes with its interactive gait projecting towards the lobby (its outlines are echoed by a lowered bulkhead, alluding to a giant clam shell). A series of arched reliefs expressed by timber veneers add a delicate flourish to its face under a mass of solid stone,” says Luchetti.
To this end, the designers have lowered the bar and added custom leather swivel stools with curved returns to encourage lengthier sittings. The height of the ocean lounge fireplace’s hearth was also lowered to seat level.
“We retained elements that we could transform rather than remove and re-build, including the rendering of the fireplace and cladding its newly extended base in tiles to revive it,” says Luchetti. The bar is in fact magnificent with a bespoke hardwood face that is richly figured and unique with a Qariza quartzite counter (Artedomus).
Zapping the whole into something extraordinary, however, is the custom crazy paving floor of cream, pink, green and brown. It is a triumph of everything fabulous in seventies design, yet it doesn’t distract from the wild bar joinery in Ettore Sottsass timber in grey (Elton Group) that provides a smoking hot frame to the bar utilities. This in turn is topped by a coffered surround finished in Waterstone polished plaster in emerald green (Bishop Master Finishes).
Transforming the gaming room into an elegant cocktail lounge, a trio of alcoves housing discreet curved leather banquettes (NSW Leather) references Italian loggias and a relaxed mood. Here, turmeric and cinnamon tones provide the backdrop to a pastel Venetian-style underwater wall mural by Steady Hand Studio.
Striped (Arthur G) and ziz-zag fabric (South Pacific Fabrics) speaks to the breeze blocks and the addition of orange picks up the energy. For the ocean-facing sunroom, a great variety of striped and patterned upholstery fabrics in blues gives a welcoming hello to the street. It is, however, the lovely Tulip chairs by Adam Goodrum (Cult) in the lounge that really speak to long languid afternoons.
LK have a remarkable talent that each of their projects continues to prove. Yes, there is the wow factor, that of-the-moment aspect that all hospitality needs, but there is also a constancy to the considerations of flow, utility and spatial use that remains in the bones when colours or finishes go in and out of favour. There is also an understanding of clientele, with each project very specifically designed for both locals and design tourists alike. Add to this the extraordinary selection of bark paintings and 55 North is both now and wow, as well as impressively future proofed.
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