Location: 80 Bay St, Ultimo for Toby’s Estate
I created a café in an empty space that is shared with Readers Digest reception, located in the majestic old Grace Bros building on Broadway, once the hub of shopping & activity located on the central tram line. The existing finishes of old floorboards, high ceilings & large bright double frontage shop windows offered a beautiful shell to base my design. I used oak, zinc, marble, linen, smoked mirror, industrial lighting & bentwood chairs to create the feeling of times gone by.
The final design is a floating coffee bar with a 2 leveled 12m long bar. The standing bar is oak paneled with a zinc lined bar top, embracing the patches & joins. This leads to a lower front take-away bar, clad in classic cream hexagon tiles & a Cerrarra marble top, married by a curved brass foot rail. Behind the bar sits cabinetry work in oak and 3 central smoked mirrors with curved tops, that are echoed in the adjacent built out banquette setting. Pigeon-holes on the cabinetry sides are available for retail display.
To create a sense of intimacy & warmth within the high ceilinged space, I created a built out banquette that is oak paneled. On the paneled wall sit glass ball wall sconces and framed sepia photographs from owner, Toby Smith’s newly released book: Coffee Trails. The street end of this cabinet acts as a retail display area. A 9m upholstered banquette lines the cabinet covered in commercial navy linen and button backed. Loose marble topped Parisian café tables sit in front with bentwood chairs.
I mixed old with new by softly restoring a large cabinet that sits pride of place on the back wall. In the front window, a large old industrial sewing table sits for communal capacity with singer-style stools, a nod to the history of the building. Two industrial-style shelving units act as retail display as part of this setting. All furniture was sourced locally for this project.
For the lighting above the bar, seven vintage pressed glass art-deco hang, brass & copper industrial wide-brimmed pendant lamps appear throughout the space and 2 oversized copper lampshades overhang the front communal table.
Perhaps it should be a wine bar!!!
Green words! Everyone is talking about going green & there’s no better way to say it than with green words. Patrick Blanc started the craze with his amazing vertical gardens & now you see them popping up everywhere. I love the idea of green graffiti.
I have just returned from the heart of the trade winds, the Maldives.
You may know of my constant references to sea exploration: a romanticised version of pirates & buccaneers. Well, it was time to see for myself the place where Dampier recorded & named the winds that made for swift & speedy traverse from the Phillipines to Mexicos. With ships laden with trinkets, treasures & souvenirs to trade once back in home port.
I am working on the look & design of a luxury resort which does not yet exist. The only restriction at this point, is no structure or building is to be higher than the tallest tree. I am going to tap into my resources & memory of my many years globetrotting to amazing locations, to create an environment that you desire to visit, feel you could move in upon arrival & take home as inspiration to incorporate into your own home & everyday life.
I am going to draw on some of my favourite locations & past interiors including Coqui Coqui in Tulum, Amansara in Cambodia, Donna Karan’s Hamptons House & the Islander Resort in Islamorada plus a good dose of history reference of what discoveries & marvels were being unearthed with the fresh new eyes at the time of the Tradewinds.
It will be a place that sits comfortably in its environment, using local materials & a sense of discovery & surprise (think tree houses, forts, tents) with a healthy respect for the natural surrounds to provide the rambles & paths that will make up the footprint. I will most definitely be using my past palette of the same name, Tradewinds.
At The Society inc. (& throughout my books) I have loved & fondly embraced the use of the pointing hand. You know the classic traditional symbol of indication, to train your eye to a point of interest, a caption or button. Well, I am moving on! I have now fallen in love with another.
The simple classic arrow.
This fascination started from an early age of archery & the paraphernalia that came with it: the leather arm protect, the wooden or bamboo arrow with feathered flight tails, the tightness of the bow as it draws back & you eye the target. My friends at BDDW in NYC seem to share my love & have them on their website (which is well worth a peruse). I believe they have started their own archery club. I would most definitely join if my place of residence was still NYC.
Most recently I have acquired some great arrow signs to sell at the shop as well as purchasing a classic bulls-eye from KioskKiosk that hangs as its own artwork in my space- a homage to my youth & the many hours of darts with my brothers & local gang.
Beach-combing: (my definition) the natural flotsam & jetsam the sea deposits on it’s sandy slopes & in tide lines alone, ready for the find of the casual observer or keen-eyed comber.
On my very recent trip to the Maldives, I was scouting a deserted island that I am in the running to design with uber-cool architect Kelvin Ho. Whilst visiting the island both at sunset & sunrise I picked up these treasures whilst walking the perimeter. Think lots of white sand, pink skies & clear turquoise waters.
One of my very first memories is of beach combing for shells on the wild shores of the beach near my Grandparents farm, on the north coast of NSW. And although this collection of pink tideline-loving kelp shells sits proudly on my cabinet of curiosities, I have bought much fancier shells over the years & am as fascinated by the real thing as by beautiful studies, drawings & lithographs of them.
I am forever searching out shell museums & collections to pour over & use as inspiration for my own display & just to see what wonderful shapes, sizes & colours the world’s cornucopia of shells has to offer.