In an environment of fickle patronage, Luchetti Krelle has become a go-to studio for developers and operators looking to realise fresh, directional spaces that resonate with their audience and stand the test of time.
Following on from their awards for ‘Best International’ & ‘Overall Winner’ at Australia’s Interior Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) 2018, Rachel Luchetti and Stuart Krelle continue to set benchmarks for interior design in the hospitality space both locally and internationally.
They are a prolific force within the industry, defining the landscape for outstanding food & beverage experiences. The list of high profile spaces that have benefitted from the duo’s unique sensibilities is too long to list here – but to give you some idea, their influence extends from the Banksii Vermouth Bar & Bistro at Sydney’s Barangaroo for Lendlease to old favourites like Sydney’s The Tilbury Hotel at Wolloomooloo and Tequila Mockingbird in Paddington; ACME Restaurant and Bar in Rushcutters Bay to Hotel Centennial in Woollahra; the MLC Centre Foodcourt; Bondi’s Beach Road Hotel; Sake at The Rocks and further North to a variety of hotspots in Northern NSW, QLD – and as far as Tokyo, where their Longrain project has received best in class accolades.
Boutique Developer is privileged to have the opportunity to share the insights and experience of this formidable design team.
BD: Please tell us a bit about the Luchetti Krelle approach to designing unique and enduring interiors.
SK – We take on each project with energy and excitement. The opportunity to transform a space into a place that people love to catch-up and gather is our major motivation. Hospitality design provides us with this great creative outlet that is so public and can be shared by all.
We always design a venue with the intent it will endure, but first and foremost, it is the expression of a brief from our client. The space is to reflect our client’s intent and desire.
RL – Our approach is driven by passion and creativity from the outset all the way through the process. With no signature style as such, it’s a bit of a ‘choose your own adventure’ for every one of our projects where we are free to respond to each unique brief, client and context.
BD: In designing a successful hospitality offering, what are the most important questions that developers or operators should seek to answer?
SK – We can see that many developers and large-scale retail operators see the real value of having a food and beverage focus to their developments. Food is at the centre of most cultures and is always a great start to create and nurture community. The question to ask, is really what you want your venue or development to be to its surrounds?
RL – Some retail sites are an afterthought to the residential component above. We think it is key that the ground plane, the fine grain and its insertion into the urban fabric is key to a successful development. It sets the tone for the community engagement and the residents also.
BD: How do you go about finding inspiration for a particular project?
SK -The genesis of a project is from the initial meet and greet with the client, and the brief provided. This sets us on our path to discover and reinterpret the client’s ideas into something that is unique to them.
We then seek the appropriate type of inspiration, but that can always been from travel, art, visiting other venues (be it locally, interstate or internationally if possible 😉 ), books and online sources. I do feel the greatest inspiration is found when you draw on your experiences.
RL – We pride ourselves on our ability to work with various narratives and are inspired by historical eras, nostalgia and post modernism. Creativity is such an elusive concept in itself – we like to think that we foster a way of just ‘being’ creative in the way that we approach every situation and problem-solving exercise.
BD: Tough though it may be to choose, which two projects come to mind as examples of what you consider to be highly successful ventures and why
Banksii Vermouth Bar & Bistro– Barangaroo (Lend Lease)
Within a development with so many sites competing for attention, Banksii sits neatly into the streetscape with a small interior footprint, but punches above its weight in its delivery.
There is a strong concept narrative alongside a good operator who also provided a strong concept in their food and beverage offering.
Located by the waterfront in Barangaroo, this 200-seater bar and restaurant draws inspiration from the industrial glasshouses of the 18th Century. Named after First Fleet botanist Sir Joseph Banks – given the food and drink menu’s predilection for botanical infusions – a sea of soft furnishings in teal shades respond to the aquatic surrounds, whilst blush-toned concrete floors reference the area’s native flora. Parisian Art Nouveau flourishes including soaring iron columns and ornamental chandeliers paying homage to nature with their filigree elements.
Longrain – Tokyo, Japa
Our first international project was a collaboration between Longrain’s Sydney owner and a large-scale Tokyo operator. Subtle design motifs of Longrain’s storied Sydney and Melbourne restaurants inform this Tokyo iteration whilst introducing a more sophisticated aesthetic befitting the restaurant’s high-rise location 39 stories above the city’s metropolis.
The intersection of cultures in a successful cohesive design would be another attribute to its success, as well as working closely with all of the team (client(s), chefs, Japanese joiners and manufacturers and Australian artists) for a smooth delivery.
As well as receiving positive feedback from the local operator that it is performing well, Longrain Tokyo won ‘Best International’ & ‘Overall Winner’ at Australia’s Interior Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) 2018.
To be recognised this way in one of Australia’s most prestigious design awards was humbling and overwhelming. Still celebrating!
BD: The design brief for our readers: Select a single project to demonstrate an example of a quality design process, from briefing to design solution.
The Tattersalls Hotel, Armidale NSW (will be releasing photos shortly)
An extensive refurbishment and restoration of a regional heritage pub.
In addition to the creation of 25 guest rooms and spacious suites on the upper levels with plush guest lounge common areas, refurbishment also included: conservation of the façade; the introduction of a rear courtyard casual dining and entertaining area; a fully refurbished lounge bar, main dining room and function rooms; the creation of a public bar and multi-purpose room, plus gaming parlour.
All three floors were gutted throughout, maintaining as many original features as possible including a beautiful glass skylight, pressed tin ceilings and solid timber-lined stairways, restoring them to their former glory.
The building was originally built in 1854, but after an Art Deco transformation in the 1930s, we had plenty of Art Deco references to draw inspiration from.
The design solution
With close consultation with the client, who wished to restore the pub to its former glory utilising a favourite era, we really enjoyed this project. The design wasn’t restricted to only part of the hotel, but throughout the whole site.
The design wasn’t for the ornate early deco period, rather a more restrained style with an emphasis on colour and texture.
With the exception of dining chairs and stools plus a small selection of lighting, the entire fit-out is custom created. Incorporating punchy jewel-toned palette choices from sapphire blues to garnet reds in the public areas, repetitive geometric pattern-play and an abundance of rounded edges, the hotel’s historical essence is preserved with contemporary elegance.
BD: What are some other recent interiors projects that you admire (yours or others/ locally or internationally) and why?
SK – On a recent trip to LA, did enjoy the interiors at the Ace Hotel (Downtown) for its interesting style and mix of materials. It worked so well by showcasing the original old building’s features effortlessly with its contemporary integration.
RL- Whilst in London last month, I stayed at The Standard Hotel in Kings Cross. The way in which this brutalist building that was formerly a town hall and public library has been adaptively reused is truly inspirational. It’s now the perfect hub of hospitality that welcomes the locals and visitors alike.