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The professional choice for contractors Jands is Australia’s leading supplier of technical equipment for the theatrical market. Our recent projects include the State Theatre Centre of Western Australia, The Concourse Chatswood, Melbourne Theatre Company and Melbourne Recital Centre, Sydney Theatre Company, NIDA, and many public and private venues across Australia. Jands has been consulting, designing, manufacturing and supplying audio, lighting and staging equipment to the Australian entertainment industry for the past 40 years. We are experienced, passionate and committed to our industry.

We pride ourselves in employing in-house Project Managers, Electrical and Structural Engineers, Technical Sales and Support Staff, Specialised Fabrication and Installation Teams, and Quality Seamstresses with hundreds of years experience between them.

Whether you’re a school building a new multi-purpose hall, a regional performing arts centre refitting your auditorium, or a consultant looking for theatre engineers to assist on a world class theatrical venue,

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Shopping Around


fter enjoying a coffee with Matt ‘Smooth Operator’ Mullins the other week, he put me onto Pinterest. If you’re anything like me, you might think Pinterest is the preserve of the Bridezilla: ‘look how the burgundy ribbon around the cake matches the cummerbunds of the three pageboys’. ‘Oh, and wouldn’t it be amazing if the pink stretch Hummer could be in the bridal party photos at dusk under the Harbour Bridge’. And yes, Pinterest is perfect for the scrapbooking hoarder who’s building a mood board for a special occasion. But as Matt pointed out to me (who, in turn, I hasten to point out, is already married, and has no interest in whether the hand-stamped floral motif on the parchment-paper invitations matches the posies on the high table’s centrepiece) it’s also perfect for building a design file for your next venue – and let’s face it, we’re all fantacising about the ‘next’ one. Go and have a look at what venue’s done on Pinterest, and I hope it provides you with another avenue of inspiration. What I noticed as I was putting together the venue Pinterest page was how inspiration doesn’t need to come from your own precise ‘patch’ necessarily. If you operate pubs, or a café, or a hotel, inspiration doesn’t necessarily come from other pubs, cafés or hotels. It can come from anywhere. On our Pinterest page you’ll find the odd thing from a domestic setting, electronics, retro posters… It all can get thrown into the inspiration cauldron with some eye of newt etc. After all, your venue is about creating a feeling in people. Which is why it’s been so fun pulling together this issue’s Retail Special. I understand that the majority of our readers don’t operate retail stores, but I’m sure you’ll agree that the philosophy behind good retail design is closely aligned to hotels and hospitality. It’s about how you make your customers feel. Christopher Holder Editorial Director Send Chris a cheerio on

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Give your managers a boost Qualifications: • Facilities Management

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Contents “Some people are happy to pay anywhere between $20 and $120 for a steak just to go into this place that’s a temple to meat” Damian Borchok, CEO Interbrand — pg32

Retail Special Converse Store Quiksilver

pg26 pg30



Advertising Office: (02) 9986 1188 PO Box 6216, Frenchs Forest, NSW 2086 Editorial Office: (03) 5331 4949 PO Box 295, Ballarat, VIC 3353 Editorial Director: Christopher Holder ( Publication Director: Stewart Woodhill ( Advertising Manager: Paul Cunningham (


Publisher: Philip Spencer ( Art Direction & Design: Dominic Carey ( Additional Design: Leigh Ericksen ( Circulation Manager: Jen Temm (





Accounts: Jaedd Asthana (

alchemedia publishing pty ltd (ABN: 34 074 431 628) PO Box 6216, Frenchs Forest, NSW 2086 All material in this magazine is copyright Š 2012 Alchemedia Publishing Pty Ltd. The title Venue is a registered Trademark. Apart from any fair dealing permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any process without written permission. The publishers believe all information supplied in this magazine to be correct at the time of publication. They are not in a position to make a guarantee to this effect and accept no liability in the event of any information proving inaccurate. After investigation and to the best of our knowledge and belief, prices, addresses and phone numbers were up to date at the time of publication. It is not possible for the publishers to ensure that advertisements appearing in this publication comply with the Trade Practices Act, 1974. The responsibility is on the person, company or advertising agency submitting or directing the advertisement for publication. The publishers cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions, although every endeavour has been made to ensure complete accuracy.


Music Connection Topshop Jet Cycles Mitchell Ogilvie Converse Store Quiksilver Interbrand Interview

pg14 pg18 pg22 pg24 pg26 pg30 pg32

Smooth Operator Kit Sit Lit Commercial Edge Preferred Suppliers You Wish

pg13 pg70 pg72 pg74 pg76 pg78 pg82

QT Sydney The Morrison Crown Perth Cotta 20 Questions — Simon Digby Ananas Crown Perth Little Ludlow Claus Sendlinger, Design Hotel Papaya Playa Project Swissotel Sydney

pg38 pg42 pg46 pg50 pg52 pg54 pg46 pg58 pg62 pg66 pg68

Momofuku Seiobo High Commendation

Best Restaurant Design Category Eat-Drink-Design Awards 2012

Adriano Zumbo Patissier WINNER Best Retail Design Category Eat-Drink-Design Awards 2012

Hospitality Design Specialists Contact Level 1, 56 Cooper Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010 P +61 2 9699 3425 / E

Xanthi High Commendation

“Leisure Interior� Australia Asia Pacific Property Awards 2012

Ananas Bar and Restaurant Recently Completed

Samsung SUR40 Microsoft速 PixelSenseTM

Samsung SUR40 with Microsoft速 PixelSenseTM provides different ways to bring people together to connect, learn and decide using touch and everyday objects.

Experiences that bring people together and enhance collaboration Samsung SUR40 can serve as a centerpiece for multiple users to easily collaborate and engage with digital content and each other. • Use as a table, on the wall, or in an enclosure. • Large 40” multi-touch display. • 360-degree user interface in Surface mode. • Immersive experience with HD (1080p) display and four - speaker audio. • Durable and designed for public use. • Connected PC for integration with additional peripherals and other systems (sold separately).

Technology that interacts with touch and objects Samsung SUR40 uses PixelSense™ technology – a,vision-based system – designed to ‘see’ and respond to touch and objects creating a different experience for sharing information. • Recognises and reacts up to 50 points of contact simultaneously. • Touch interaction from multiple people at the same time. • Optical tag recognition allowing physical objects to interact with applications.

About Microsoft PixelSense™ technology

Bing application*

Microsoft PixelSense™ allows the display to recognize fingers, hands,and objects placed on the screen, enabling vision-based interaction without the use of cameras. The individual pixels in the display see what’s touching the screen and that information is processed and interpreted.

A Bing™ application comes pre-installed on the Samsung SUR40 allowing multiple users to search and explore images, maps and information.

Think of it like the connection between the eye and the brain. You need both, working together, to see. In this case, the eye is the sensor in the panel, it picks up the image and it feeds that to the brain which is the vision input processor that recognizes the image and does something with it. Taken in whole…this is PixelSense technology.

• Provides local maps, points-of-interest and services. • Search results generate Microsoft Tags so information can be taken away on compatible smartphones. • Configuration utility makes it easy to customize the experience and use tagged product or promotional objects to take users directly to the desired content.

• Up to four searches of images or maps at a time for a shared experience.

*Internet connection required. Data charges may apply.

Audio Processing. Redefined.

Smart Series. The Smart Series uses a new pre-amplifier circuit and DSP bus architecture and is enhanced in processing capacity, processing speed and sound quality. Users can select one or two DSP configuration solutions based on the audio processing need. In addition, the Smart Series retains the clear and intuitive user control interface of the DAM Series. For the function aspect, it adds an extra phone coupling line with two independent channels. Its software supports the AEC (Acoustic Echo Cancellation) and ANC (Acoustic Noise Cancellation) functions. The Smart Series uses a compact 1U structural design and retains the indicators for input/output signal, power, control signal and fault at its front panel. The machine looks simple and elegant. ETHERNET, RS232 and GPIO are available to set and control the device.

127 Merrindale Drive, Croydon Victoria, Australia, 3136 T: +61 (0)3 9761 5577 F: +61 (0)3 9761 5611

SMOOTH OPERATOR Time to function correctly. Matt Mullins is a partner in Sand Hill Road hospitality group


y the time you read this, you’ll be in the middle of your December hangover — that dull constant headache that kicks in in early December the morning after that first hot sunshiny day when you and everyone from work knock off early, hit the nearest beer garden for a quick one, smash into a few jugs, order a few more, more than you’d originally planned but hey, its hot, why the f**k not? A few mates show up, then a few more, and before you know it you’re standing in a quiet corner on the phone explaining to your wife why you’re going to miss bath time: its been a bloody big week and you’ve taken the team out for a quick drink, and no, you’re not drunk, and no you don’t enjoy this, but it’s your job and it seems a bit unfair for her to be questioning your commitment to the kids when you’re doing all this for them. And no, that’s not a girl in the background. That’s where it starts. Where it ends depends on how many days of the Boxing Day test you go to, but it certainly won’t be before the 27th. Anyway, the point is, this column may be too late. This is all about functions and events, and December is the season for functions and events, but given you’re already well into your December hangover, we might have missed the boat. (Perhaps we’ll cut and paste this into next October’s edition.)

BIG CHUNK OF TURNOVER In some of our venues, functions make up as much as 50% of our weekly turnover. Much more than you might ever have imagined — certainly more than I thought possible when I got into pubs. The great thing about functions is that they’re predictable. They can protect your turnover from large fluctuations based on weather or calendar events like festivals or televised sport. Functions also allow you to scale labour costs precisely without any wastage. You know how many people are coming and what time they’re arriving and leaving — it’s a rostering dream and it can have a huge impact on your bottom line. We tend to host one of two types of functions. The first, and more traditional, style

involves a group booking a room or a section of a room, pre-ordering food, with a tab on a private bar. It’ll involve a start time and a finish time and guests tend to arrive on time. It also often involves an incoherent speech from a drunk uncle who not only commandeers the microphone but manages to patch it through the entire venue. These are typically family or work functions: engagements, weddings, 21st parties, Christmas functions. The second involves a group organising to meet up in a certain part of a certain venue, at an approximate time, most often for a birthday, a going-away, or a welcome-home. They won’t book a space, and won’t pre-order food, but they’ll tell us they’re coming, how many they’re bringing and what time they’re likely to arrive. A few years ago we did the sums that told us just how large functions were as a proportion of our takings. And it got us thinking: if they’re such a large proportion of our venue’s takings, why do we spend so little time thinking about them? So we made some changes.

FUNCTIONAL DESIGN We’ve started designing our venues with functions in mind. The larger, private functions need a space with its own bar, access to outside, easy access to toilets (if not their own private toilets) and some interface with the general area of the pub, ideally the dancefloor. They don’t necessarily want to be in a truly private space, locked off from everyone else. Of course, we don’t have these functions every day and night of the week, so the private spaces also need to be openable for the general public when a function isn’t in. It’s a very fine balancing act that requires a lot of thought. The second type of function wants to take an area within the general pub — a corner of the public bar or the beer garden, a few large tables in the bistro or lounge. We design our rooms with a few small breakout spaces that can accommodate groups of 10 to 20. We also re-examined our operations. We shy away from room hires in lieu of minimum spends. We figure a guaranteed crowd and their guaranteed spend is how we make our

“The great thing about functions is that they’re predictable. They can protect your turnover from large fluctuations” living — a room hire fee feels like taking the piss. We request deposits for large bookings, but we’re starting to request them for smaller ones too. We’re noticing an interesting phenomenon in our busier venues, which have queues on Friday and Saturday nights: a group might book dining booths for 15 or 20 people, get guaranteed entry past the queue, sit down, order three bowls of fries and 34 vodka, lime and sodas, and never eat a thing, meaning we can’t put real diners in that space. Similarly, we have to be careful with start times on busy nights. If we book a function for 50 people, we have to hold space for them in the venue. Our queues sometimes form from 7.30, which means we’re 50 people off our capacity inside, while there are 50 people outside waiting to get in. So we encourage groups to arrive before 7.30, or accept that they may have to wait in the queue.

YES, YES, YES One of the most important things about securing a function is the first phone call, email or web-query. We have two basic rules: Answer straight away. Answer yes. A phone message or email shouldn’t go unanswered for hours, let alone days or weeks. And whatever the question, the answer is yes. Our theory is we can do any kind of function required — until we hear more about it and work out we can’t, or don’t want to. But replying quickly and saying ‘yes’ means we get first right of refusal. Don’t ever forget: every function request represents a person wanting to give you money.


MUSIC CONNECTION Universal Store takes its music playlists and in-store audio seriously. Greg Josephson is Director of Universal Store group.


niversal Store is a fashion clothing chain. We’re predominantly based in Queensland, but we’re quickly establishing ourselves in Melbourne. We target the 18-25 year old market with on-trend fashion that’s well priced and in-store at the right time. We’re very careful about getting all aspects of the customers’ in-store experience right — design and customer service is very important to our success — but nothing makes an emotional connection with our customers like the choice of music. Our customers are obviously very tech-savvy and they’re very knowledgable when it comes to their music selection, so for Universal Store to be a place our customers feel comfortable in and for it to be an environment conducive to buying our gear, we have to be right on our game.


FROM EXPERIENCE In the early days, we relied on showing Channel V on our screens. This was prior to Channel V becoming clogged with advertising. From there we moved to five CD stacker systems. Then around four years ago we partnered with Nightlife — and we’ve not looked back. Nightlife has provided us with great assistance in pulling together our playlists. And we’ve worked with them over the years to develop exactly the right music scheduled in each of our stores. We’ve found that the right playlist in Cairns will be quite different to Melbourne. And there are real differences not only from state to state, but within the state, or indeed from suburb to suburb. We’ve also discovered the playlist needs to be adjusted according to the time of day. A Thursday or Friday evening shopping experience will be very different to a Tuesday morning one, for example. Choosing the music is an instinctive process, as much as anything. We do rely on feedback from our store managers, and their instincts, or hearing what their customers are requesting. That’s passed onto our brand manager to be thrown into the mix when he consults with Nightlife. And you’ve always got to be vigilant and aware of changing tastes. Universal Store is known for its Indie music leanings. I recall our brand manager picking up that we had Gangnam Style in a number of our CBD Brisbane and Melbourne stores. Okay, it’s a novelty and it was ironically cool there for a while, but we were glad to have the ability to take it out of rotation to save us from looking too daggy. We’ve also been aware of the fact that being Indie we have to be careful about being too downbeat. So we lean towards music that is positive and upbeat.

My advice is: whatever your choice of music, it has to be obvious that it’s intentional and it’s credible. For us, we back up our Indie bent by supporting local Australian acts. Our Facebook page will profile a new Indie band every week. And our store launches will feature an Indie band from that city or area.

SPEAKS VOLUMES Compared to most retailers our volume levels are a little higher. But we really rely on the quality of the sound to ensure the music volume doesn’t get in the way of communicating and doing business. We’ve chosen Bose sound systems for our stores. The in-ceiling speakers combined with the subs are easy to integrate and provide a high quality sound and a good, smooth consistency throughout the store. We’re not a nightclub but the music is a motivator to get people excited about buying clothes. LIKE THE NIGHTLIFE BABY It’s worth name checking Nightlife again because they really have offered us a consistent and reliable product, both from an operational point of view and from an experience point of view. Operationally, we can go into one of our new stores, set up our Nightlife PC, push the ‘On’ button and the system starts working. Our library of content and new music, provided fortnightly, is then programmed by Nightlife in consultation with our Brand Manager. Effectively, it’s ‘set and forget’ from there — the music plays seamlessly from track to track. We don’t have to change CDs, we don’t have to worry about unwanted advertising on our screens, and we don’t have to worry about the system breaking down — it turns itself on in the morning and off at night.

Secondly, from an experience point of view, the Nightlife system provides consistency and a common theme across all our stores. It’s creating the right ambience, reinforcing the Universal Store brand.

CLIPS AROUND THE EARS We have commercial displays installed in our stores to show the video clips. The screens are placed quite discreetly so they’re not perceived as being overbearing or tacky. They provide that notion of colour, movement and action in store, that is always eye catching for people passing by and keeps people in store as well. It’s part of the Universal Store ‘theatre’, and is part and parcel of creating an environment conducive to buying our product. We don’t have a hard and fast rule for screen placement but we’ve found that having them towards the back of the store works well, normally up high and near the changerooms. That way, apart from contributing to the ambience, it acts as a pleasant diversion for guys waiting for their girlfriend to try on some gear. He can sit and watch the latest clip and the appreciate the music. DON’T UNDERESTIMATE As I mentioned in my introduction, nothing makes a more instantaneous or lasting emotional connection with your customers than your music selection. Get it wrong and you’re sending all the wrong messages. Get it right and it sets the tone. We understood that music was so important to Universal Store that we’ve taken on our Brand Manager (who is in that target age group) and we’ve outsourced the scheduling to Nightlife. I guess you could say that I’ve left it to the experts.

Winner of the 2012 ASOFIA Queensland Interior Fitout of the Year Award

Call Now 1300 659 399 for hospitality and retails fit outs

Head Office QLD Address: Unit 1 35 Manilla St East Brisbane, QLD 4169

NSW Office Address: Unit 407 50 Holt St Surry Hills, NSW 2010

VIC Office Address: Suite 13 84 Church Street Richmond, VIC 3121

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GET ON TOP Topshop: Gowings Building, 55 Market St, Sydney NSW

Topshop, the British fast fashion franchise, is big. Big name (there are 750-plus Topshop stores in more than 32 countries); big collaborations (think: everyone from Kate Moss to Christopher Kane); and on October 4, when an 1800sqm megastore was unveiled in the Gowings Building, Topshop entered Sydney in a big way. Queues stretched down George Street and cash registers didn’t stop ringing — word has it that more stock shifted at the launch of Topshop Sydney than at the launch of Topshop New York. REBEL WITH CAUSE The Australian franchise rights to Topshop are exclusively owned by Next Athleisure — a company whose chairman, Hilton Seskin, founded Rebel Sport, and whose retail empire includes Glue. Seskin realised the potential for Topshop in the Australian market years ago, and showed up at store openings the world over in a bid to convince Sir Philip Green, the English businessman whose Arcadia Group owns the retailer, that Next Athleisure should be the ones to bring the brand Downunder. Last year, Next Athleisure won the rights and in December, it launched its first Australian Topshop foothold in an old Jam Factory site in Melbourne’s South Yarra. As Seskin announced back then, “Those in the know have been anxiously waiting for Topshop to come to Australia on a large scale, and we are thrilled to deliver.”



Round two — the Sydney store — proved a bigger and more challenging project. For starters, the Gowings site, which is being leased to Next Athleisure by Amalgamated Holdings Limited (AHL), spans four vast levels, whereas the Melbourne store is housed in a single storey building. There were also the challenges of working with an old building. It was constructed in 1912 and both elbow grease and tough negotiating skills were needed to bring it up to scratch. “The coordination of many stakeholders was a challenge,” Angelo DiMarco of Woodhead, which worked as architect on the project, says. “We had to be collaborative, responsive and understanding to conflicting requirements of the client, the Council, the heritage office and building codes.” EIGHT WEEKS & IN Global Shopfitters played a key role, overseeing construction, carpentry, joinery (which was all made locally in Global Shopfitter’s factory) and installation. Adam Hibberd and his team of 20 had to stick to a tight schedule; they had just eight weeks to get in and out of the site. And being in the middle of the CBD at the nexus of two major roads made transporting materials a logistical nightmare. “There was a lot of heavy lifting and carting things up and down stairs,” Hibbard says. “We couldn’t get big trucks in because there just wasn’t enough space. It was a mad rush to get it finished. We were working around the clock.” Given the high level of foot traffic in the area, they also had to think about noise. “The Topshop site has two ground floor entrances on George Street, and one underground entrance from the QVB,” Hibberd says. “People are shopping in the QVB and George Street all day, and there are businesses around there, so we had to think about things like drilling.”

SYDNEY VIA LONDON Once all the fittings and fixtures were in place, an 80-strong team, flown in from the mother country, worked on the store’s visual merchandising. The finished store is almost identical to the Topshop flagship in Oxford Circus, London, complete with neon signage, personal shopping suites, shoes and accessories, a make-up section, capsule collections and full lines of both Topshop and its brother label Topman. The four floors are manned by more than 280 staff, and there are fitting rooms on every level. BIG SPEND There’s a lot of talk lately about e-commerce and the death of bricks and mortar. The Gowings Building was home to the first-ever vertical department store in Australia, and Gowings went into liquidation in 2006, which you’d think be something of a ‘caveat emptor’ to others wanting to set up shop on the same corner. But if Topshop Sydney’s turnover is any indication, Australian consumers still have a voracious appetite for real-life in-store experiences; when what they are offered something big, they’ll spend big.

CONTACTS Global Shopfitters: 1300 139 151 or Woodhead International: (02) 9964 9500 or Zebra (Topshop’s Global Architects): Studio Ginger: Candalepas Architecture (Awning Design): (02) 9283 7755 or


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SALES CYCLE Jet Cycles: 80 Clarence St, Sydney NSW

CONTACTS Specialized: ONE Group Retail Experience: (03) 9403 3555 or

Cycling is no longer a cheap means of transportation. It’s a religion. People of all ages are jumping into their lycra and joining the global pelaton. But let’s not kid ourselves, it’s the middle age gent who’s hellbent on losing that 40+ paunch who’s leading the retail renaissance. So, where better to place a cycling superstore than in the Sydney CBD, providing easy access for suits to drop $10k or more on a hi-tech treadley?

The original timber features were restored and brick archways were painstakingly uncovered by the ONE Group team who chipped back layers of paint to reveal and protect their original splendour.

Specialized, the global retailer of road, mountain and children’s bikes, was ahead of the game and created an impressive retail showcase in a historical building on Clarence St, transforming it into the ultimate two-level haven for cycling enthusiasts.

Framed photographs of shop owner Mark Newton working with the famous and infamous in the cycling world are laid around the store creating intriguing features that draw you into the different areas of the premises.

When developing this ambitious project, the Specialized Retail Services Department appointed ONE Group Retail Experience to take on the fitout and project management role. Hannah Ferens, Specialized Retail Services Project Manager, had worked with ONE previously and felt comfortable partnering with them again on this project. “Our endeavour was to make the most of the great bones of the 400sqm property and to emphasise its heritage features while bringing warmth to the space. We felt that in this atmosphere the Specialized values to be authentic and approachable to all riders would be best presented,” said Ms Ferens.   ONE Group worked within the confines of the heritagelisted property with care, using top quality materials to draw out the character of the building. 

The store is full of nice design touches. For example, the children’s bikes are positioned in large colourful boxes and installed on angles in the archways to draw the eyes up the grand staircase.

Timber finishes, leafy pot plants and neatly presented merchandise make for an inviting and comfortable space regardless of your cycling experience level. The Service Centre on the ground level is positioned behind a glazed window and doors, a transparency rarely found in bicycle stores, that allows riders to view the mechanics at work; a spectacle usually reserved for hidden basements or a workshop ‘out the back’. The signature Specialized red is cleverly used throughout, highlighting the exceptional or more exclusive features such as the S-Works range; the pinnacle of the Specialized brand. This is a characteristic of the Specialized retail experience in all concept stores across the globe.

Experience our range. Experience a world of opportunity.

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BESPOKE PERFECTION Mitchell Ogilvie: 168 Edward St, Brisbane QLD

24 Every self-consciously upmarket commercial centre aims to have one: a standout precinct of luxe retailers. Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Dior, Ferragamo, Gucci… the list is as familiar as it is exclusive. Brisbane’s Edward Street plays host to a deluxe conga line of prestige marques, including an interloper, a homegrown Australian success story: Mitchell Ogilvie. Actually, ‘interloper’ is the wrong word. Mitchell Ogilvie can almost single handedly take credit for the gentrification of the Edward Street shopping strip. Some 30 years ago he put his name above the door of a men’s outfitter, making a name for himself, and attracting others in the Birdcage set along the way. And to understand how, you need to understand the eponymous Mr. Ogilvie a little. Mitchell Ogilvie, the rag trade entrepreneur, is a hard-working, charming perfectionist. And, indeed, a man not afraid to think big, and back himself to the hilt when he makes his move. “There are times when you can’t be frugal, when you have to do it properly,” Ogilvie has been reported as saying. “We spent a lot of money getting it right here.” Ogilvie is referring to his freshly pressed Edward Street flagship store — 30 metres down the road from his original address — and at around $2m for the fitout he’s not exaggerating. To make the effort of moving, the reasons needed to be compelling. The fitout needed to be classic and timeless — as much for the benefit of his clientele as a statement about ‘doing it once, doing it right’. It called for an absolutely precise finish, despite being built on a heritage site that had seen multiple tenants and fitouts. The design by Sue Coles, of Baenziger Coles, reflected simple lines, classical French Oak finishes, parquetry flooring and a neutral colour palette. It says that exclusivity does not need to be ostentatious.

The site itself, however, threw up multiple challenges. The shop actually straddles two separate buildings. Tú Projects had to cut through the two solid masonry walls and build a waterproofed bridge between the spaces. Internally, the slab floor required a new stairwell cut into it and an old one filled with all the structural challenges that this clearly involved. The same floor, which had been recapped almost a dozen times needed to be jackhammered back to its base layer to suitably take the precision parquetry floor. There was also the reconstruction and cladding of the building’s heritage awning. The pressed metal street-side ceiling shows the attention to detail throughout this project. All of this was achieved in a building on one of Brisbane City’s busiest car and foot thoroughfares. With no on-site parking and restrictive working hours, Tú Projects had to work to a highly compressed timescale to complete the program. The final product displays all the hallmarks of fine craftsmanship in every detail. The French Oak joinery by Arc Joinery in Brisbane combines solid timber faces mitred to veneered drawer fronts and tie-racks. Benchtops are finished with hand-picked white Carrara marble. Drawer handles and balustrades are finished with finely-stitched leather. Custom made, ice-white skirting boards provide a clean contrast to the natural finish of the parquetry floor. And of course, there is the feature bespoke pendant light by the Gold Coast-based design and manufacture business — Yellowgoat. Ogilvie said that to move his business felt like moving my home. “It also had the potential to upset my customers. I therefore had to be sure that the outcome showed we were moving up; creating a better environment for my clientele. “I am thrilled with the results and have been overwhelmed with positive feedback from my customers. I hope people enjoy stepping into the new shop as much as I do. “The build program went far better than I expected, because I knew it was not an easy site. I especially liked Tú’s open and transparent approach, it enabled me to see the true cost and focus on quality at a fair value. The service was very personal and nothing was any trouble. “For the shop to now win best retail fitout in Queensland (at the 2012 ASOFIA Queensland Interior Fitout Awards) is a great honour. I really believe we have set a new benchmark.” CONTACT Tú Projects: 1300 659 399 or Baenziger Coles: (03) 9696 6899 or Arc Joinery: (07) 3277 6007 or Yellowgoat (Custom Lighting):



SOLE SOUND The Converse Flagship Store: Melbourne Central, Melbourne VIC (03) 9663 6426

CONTACTS Audio Logistics (Audac): 1300 859 341 or

My 12 year old just scored his first pair of Converse kicks. He could hardly be happier. Turns out, they could just as easily have been my first pair in the ’70s. Makes for a salutary reminder: as a brand, it’s worth understanding what not to change as much as what you should be changing.

Converse wanted a sound system which would fit discretely into the store, but also have enough power for when they wanted to crank it. Installed were products from Audac, a new brand to the Australian market, distributed exclusively by Audio Logistics.

One thing that the likes of Converse has understood in recent years is the importance of wresting control back of its brand and setting up its own super stores, just like this flagship outlet in the Melbourne Central shopping centre.

The Audac range is extensive, and Converse decided on an Audac SX408A active eight-inch subwoofer and 4 x WX502B speakers in black finish (also available in white). The subwoofer is an active unit, which internally houses an amplifier module suitable for driving itself as well as the four satellite speakers — neat. A matching Audac remote volume controller was also installed, allowing the system to be conveniently controlled from a remote location.

The retail space brings together everything that is Converse, from its distinct sports heritage to its rock and roll roots. Subway tiling, sporting bleaches and a vintage basketball scoreboard are just a few features of the store’s impressive fitout, but taking centre stage is a 40-foot American Flag wall made of 272 pairs of red, blue and white Chucks.


Company Showcase

SOUL: The Juniper Group’s impressive Soul development rises 77 floors above Surfers Paradise, and is the epicentre of Surfers foreshore — the vibrant new retail centre that has re-energised Australia’s much loved beach hub. The scope of Global’s work has included the upmarket foyers and meeting rooms, outdoor kiosks and the fitout of the Seaduction Bar and restaurant, which boasts a lavish décor accented with leather and cowhide, private dining rooms and a wine tasting room.


Global Shopfitters was established around 20 years ago, and in that time has worked with leading retailers such as Quiksilver, BCF, Supercheap Auto, Pizza Hut, Ray White Real Estate, Cartier Jewellery, Fox Studio Complex, to name but a few.

Global Shopfitters: 1300 139 151

Headquartered in Queensland, the company’s directors, Adam and Steve Hibberd, have over 50 years of design, construct and project management experience between them. Global’s body of work continues to grow, proving its ability to deliver an ever developing range of projects for today’s marketplace, from Topshop’s first Australian stores or the kids’ store national rollout for retailer Best and Less, to Jimmy Buffett’s first Margaritaville restaurant at Sydney’s Darling Harbour. View more completed projects at GLOBAL SHOP SERVICES Also in the Global Shopfitters Group is GSS (Global Shop Services) its maintenance division that specialises in programmed and reactive maintenance, and OHS auditing nationally for retailers of all sizes. Currently its network of tradespeople in all states (including regional areas) service the maintenance issues nationally for Supercheap Auto, BCF, Ray’s Outdoors, Goldcross Cycles, Glue, Henleys, Quiksilver and Hooters sites.

Kookaï: The French label Kookaï first engaged Global for its store in Queensland’s Robina Town Centre. Global came recommended for its proven ability to deliver in a short time frame. The collaboration has now seen Global roll out many stores nationally.


Glue Store: is one of Australia’s leading and most respected youth fashion retailers, with 25 stores and growing. As its chosen shopfitter, Global, has delivered projects nationally, recently completing its new Bondi store.

People’s Choice Credit Union: Global’s design partner Design Clarity was asked to develop a visionary design concept for the new People’s Choice Credit Union’s national store roll-out. The brief was to create an ‘anti-bank’ and the team went to town, revolutionising everything we’ve known about ‘visiting the bank’! Building the first four sites in a quick turnaround was where Global Shopfitters delivered. Some of the anti-bank design elements include: coffee machines, real money trees, communal lockers, umbrellas and trolleys available to borrow by members, and iPads for kids to draw with. Global is continuing to rollout the exciting new concept, having just completed the Darwin location.


Surf’s Up in Byron Quiksilver Byron Bay: 2 Jonson Street, Byron Bay NSW (02) 6680 7041 or Story: Julia Langham

CONTACTS Design Clarity: (02) 9319 0933 or Global Shopfitters: 1300 139 151 or Logan Architecture: Audio Visual Design & Construct: 0434 407 781 Bose: 1800 023 367 or Aeria Country Floors: (02) 9453 9466 or Ambience Lighting: (03) 9486 3699 or Boral Bricks: 1300 134 002 or Jatana Interiors (Floor Tiles): (02) 6688 4235 or Natural Floorcovering Centre: (02) 9516 5726 or Precision Flooring: (02) 9690 0991 or Robert Plumb (Furniture): (02) 9316 9066 or

Byron is no longer a sleepy, hippy enclave for surfers and stoners, it now hosts some of the most expensive real estate in the country and attracts a huge number of tourists — many happy to update their surfwear wardrobe. When they do, they’re more than likely to pop along to Quiksilver’s flagship outlet in Byron Bay, run by local surf legend, Danny Wills. The store’s new look was given the necessary ‘wow’ factor by retail and hospitality fitout specialists Global Shopfitters and Design Clarity. It’s an on-trend mix of bespoke and craft, with a little bit ‘granny chic’ thrown in for good measure… That is, if granny could drop in on your wave and carve it up with the best of them. Globals fitout and construction divisions have combined to construct the building and undertake the fitout of the retail area and the wreck holiday apartments above. Timber is king in the 132sqm store — a charming merger of local hardwoods, punctuated by driftwood fashioned into handles for the fitting room doors. “We wanted to create a store that aligns globally with our other stores but which brings in a part of Byron Bay and the beach,” says Rod Brown, Quiksilver’s Australian retail manager. “To that end we’ve used lots of natural timbers and hardwoods and subtle branding so it’s not so in your face, and we’re very pleased with the result.” Other unique features include handmade macramé pot planters, a suspended tree-branch boardshort fixture, the white concrete besser block and criss-cross roped transaction counter, an appealing mish-mash of patterned terracotta floor tiles (sourced locally from Jatana Interiors) and oriental floor rugs (from Milton Cater Oriental Carpets) to soften the edges. The vibrant result combines a retro and reclaimed mix of the new and the local. “The most interesting aspect of this job for me was the ‘hands on’ approach,” says Kristina Hetherington, Design

Clarity director. “We had a lot of fun making the macramé hangings and collecting driftwood from the beach. “I see it as more like an art space — it’s definitely a little bit different to other surf stores and being part of the apartment development, it’s also part of the whole lifestyle package.” She says the store is seen as a distinctive ‘surf hub‘ destination, offering more than just a shopping experience. “It’s a space where art, fashion, music and surf culture collide. You can shop at your leisure, listening to chilled out beats by resident DJs.” John Collyer of AVDC provided the audiovisual know-how, installing a Bose Freespace 3 system (cube speakers and a sub) with Cloud remotes for staff. “We wanted the store to service holiday makers staying in the apartments, providing a place they could come to literally off the beach,” Rod explains. “The iPads around the store add another dimension to the retail experience. Here shoppers can browse our selections and order online if the product isn’t in store. It can then be sent up from another store or express posted from one of our warehouses. “Video screens positioned around the store also play the latest surfing clips, immersing the customer in the vibrant surf culture world and local Byron happenings. It’s an eclectic mix but I think for our clientele, it works well.” After nearly 40 years in the business, Quiksilver is so pleased with this latest aesthetic departure in its store design that negotiations are underway for Hetherington and the Design Clarity team to work their magic at another Australian store. “We like this ambience,” Rod says. “It’s a successful format that makes a really nice statement of where Quiksilver is at the moment.”


ALL OVER THE SHOP The boss of retail guru, Interbrand, urges: Don’t drop your pants, get a fresh set. Story: Mark Davie



rand management company Interbrand released its 2012 retail brand rankings for a handful of territories. The Top 50 in the US was dominated by big box movers like Walmart, Home Depot and Best Buy, while the UK and Germany stuck to its favourite supermarket brands, Tesco and Aldi respectively. And naturally, in Spain, the top retail brand was the hip fashion chain Zara. But in Australia we favour a mix. There were four Australian brands in the top five across the Asia-Pacific, a supermarket, a big-box retailer, and a couple of stalwart fashion houses: Woolworths, Harvey Norman, Myer and David Jones. We talked to Interbrand’s CEO Damian Borchok about what makes a valuable retail brand experience, and why have physical stores at all. Damian Borchok: For the report, we look at how the brands are contributing to the value of the business and what’s driving them. Whether it’s their ability to change consumer perceptions through the experience in store; the ability to infuse technology with retail; or the way retailers like Amazon and eBay are challenging the concept of what retail looks like. The way consumers now purchase means the experience and the path to purchase are far more complex. So we look at how organisations deal with that, the brands that are doing well and others that are struggling. venue: What trends have been noticeable over the last year? DB: Harvey Norman and David Jones dropped in value. There was a degree of reputation damage for David Jones regarding what happened with the previous CEO. There are also issues around how David Jones confronts the digital challenge, similar to Harvey Norman. Also David Jones doesn’t seem to invest in its own brand. It has more of a house brand strategy where it relies very heavily on the halo effect of its fashion labels to build brand image. In terms of long-term sustainable clarity of the David Jones brand, we’re not really convinced that’s going to be enough for the future. venue: So what is Myer doing right that David Jones is doing wrong? DB: Myer has become a lot more focused through its ups and downs. It’s focused on Jennifer Hawkins as the face of the business, the ‘Myer is my store’ theme has been quite consistent. It’s also focusing on a consistent offering around its stores, and last year managed to take Sass & Bide from David Jones as one of its exclusive ranges.

The flagship Melbourne store is also going to be quite derstanding it’s a very tactile selling experience for important for its brand image — there’s just general those passionate about buying books and magazines, freshness to Myer. combined with people who are very knowledgeable about the product. BY THE BOOK Though there is now growing convenience online. So venue: Some brands have died recently, Borders was there will be less retail stores, but more reasons for a big one. Are there specific industries where you you to want to go in them. For example, one of the don’t see the traditional retail store surviving? big German telcos is actually looking at reducing their DB: Booksellers is a really good example because footprint and making the stores that they retain more Angus & Robertson — and by extension, Borders, experiential; co-locating other retailers within their because its part of the same group — completely store, and providing a more exploratory, tutorial-like missed the whole point of the store. It wanted to of- experience, as opposed to a simple transaction. fer a more discount offering at Angus & Robertson venue: How does that relate to store design? but at the end of the day its discounts didn’t stack DB: Historically most retailers see a store as largely up against online retailers. It focused very heavily on a receptacle for holding stock. The mentality is very best-sellers and the service was essentially just bod- much around shopfitting, shelf-stocking, merchandisies in the store. The idea of passion around booksell- ing, etc. There’s not a consideration for the customer’s ing was not present in the environment and nor was journey and how they want to buy things. We’re seeit a particularly pleasant place to want to go into. It ing a lot more top retailers understanding the process was probably the weakest of all retailers. of how people buy in store and then configuring that Now independents are some of the largest book sell- environment to serve that process better. ers because they still understand why people want In the US, Sam’s Club did a joint venture with Procter to go into a store and why people want to shop for & Gamble to look at how people want to have their a book. Shearer’s Bookshop in Sydney is a great ex- cleaning products stocked on shelf. In the study it ample. It has a very large range of titles that you became clear that people would buy more cleanwouldn’t normally see in any store in Australia, un- ing product if the store shelves replicated how they

“one thing that cannot be replicated online is that experience of moving through a space: touch, taste, sight and smell” stored that product at home. By reconfiguring the shelves, Sam’s Club had a $50m increase in one year and in their sales of cleaning products. Or look at the extraordinary success of Victor Churchill. It’s a very high-end butcher shop in Sydney but it’s become this icon that people want to go and see. Some people are happy to pay anywhere between $20 and $120 for a steak just to go into this place that’s a temple to meat. It’s about retailers understanding how they can reshape behaviours, how they can make the experience interesting so customers are prepared to hand over money, as opposed to a generic store with generic merchandise that’s not curated well. That’s when you go online because you can get a similar thing for a third of the price. venue: What sort of questions would you ask of a brand to see Sam’s Club-style results? DB: In recent years there’s been a shift from researching consumers in focus groups and using quantitative analysis to more ethnographic-type research. So observational studies are really important — observing how people shop, getting them to keep diaries, and then asking them about that process — a combination of observation plus Q&A-type research. It helps us to understand and interpret behaviour as opposed to assuming the consumer is going to explain their behaviour to you. Most shopping behaviour is subconscious and doesn’t live in the rational part of the brain, so asking the consumer to rationalise their purchase behaviour is problematic.

pensive. But there will be fewer of these stores and corporates will choose the best spots to have a really good retail environment that sells the brand experience and link that up to online transactions. Another good example is Colette in France which has a small number of stores. It curates its product so it only has a small number of very high-end products in-store for a certain period of time and then they’re gone, and restocked with new product. It’s limited edition, one-off stuff. As a consequence you’ve always got people wanting to go back to see what they’ve got. But they’re quite expensive because they sell on the premium of their offer and the uniqueness of their offer in one place. venue: So are we moving away from traditional branding, in terms of logos and colours, to a more total brand experience? DB: Most retailers see branding as putting the big sign out the front of the store and maybe putting some of those colours inside the store. That’s never been what retail brand-building is about. You start with what ideas we want to achieve in people’s mind. Then a retail experience can potentially use all five senses to generate those feelings. While Victor Churchill is very heavily designed, as a consequence of that design you get the feeling of real theatre, the feeling of expertise, the feeling of uniqueness that reframes the experience of buying meat. In all instances, combine the elements that bring your brand to life, whether it’s the way you talk, the way you act, the way you visually represent, in sound or smell, all those things together can create a feelLICK & STICK ing of connection with people that makes sense. As venue: How important are aesthetics to retail? opposed to just logo-slapping, which is the dumbest DB: Incredibly important because one thing that can- way of branding. not be replicated online is that experience of moving through a space: touch, taste, sight and smell. And SCREENING CALL because our purchasing behaviour is largely subcon- venue: What roll does technology play in the retail scious, emotional and sensory, the aesthetic cuts into space, is it helpful or distracting to merge the online why we buy. Retailers in Australia generally under- with the physical? DB: We often talk about context, and people will play that hugely. One really good example is a brand in France called consume much less information on a digital display Leroy Merlin. It’s like a cross between a Bunnings in a store than they would on a laptop or an iPhone and an IKEA. When you go into the garden area, they because the context is different. use smell, sight and sound to replicate what it would The behaviour in a store is much faster and as a conbe like to be, for instance, in a Sicilian garden — the sequence of that you’re less likely to take in that insound of the birds, the smell from the lemons and formation, there’s a lot more distractions. When peooranges — so you get a sense of what you’re trying ple scan a shelf, you’re lucky if they will spend three to achieve. They’re one of the fastest growing retail seconds on a product. It requires very fast information to be gathered and delivered in a way that’s very brands in the world. venue: Sounds expensive to achieve. relevant. You’re going to lose people by over-compliDB: And that’s always the arguement — it is too ex- cating it, and if you’ve got too much of it.

Digital signage has become very important from an educational point of view. It can now be made to interact with, and can be used for looking at things like augmented reality. Stores that understand the fusion between the digital and physical worlds are far more interesting because in the digital environment you can change things, you can animate, educate, entertain, and it’s all flexible. Back to Leroy Merlin, that French hardware store, they use digital signage as a way of educating people on DIY programs. If you’ve got a project like changing the door, it will explain all the products you need to buy to change your door and give you a tutorial on how to do it well. venue: One major difference about the internet shopping experience is you have peer reviews and ratings. Is there room for that to cross over into in-store digital signage to augment the service experience? DB: One of the big shoe manufacturer’s concept stores has a running board of product reviews of their product. If you click onto one of its shoes it will give you a list of what people like and what people hate about that product. The interesting thing will be whether stores start curating their lines on the basis of what people say in the digital world versus just simply stock turnover. The crossovers between mobility and how mobile is used in retail environments are already emerging. There are plenty of people in booksellers scanning barcodes to see what price Amazon has got it for. It’s an inevitability and when you’ve got companies like Harvey Norman screaming blue murder about the digital world, that’s more about a company that doesn’t want to confront the reality and rather it would go away. The sooner retailers embrace it and recognise they need to reconsider their business models, the more successful they will be faster.



Company Showcase

A SPOON FULL OF DESIGN One Teaspoon’s flagship Westfield Sydney store gets a facelift thanks to OX Engineering Group. OX Engineering Group: Britton St, Smithfield, NSW 2164 02 9616 744423 or

OX Engineering Group are the manufacturers behind the latest beautiful installation of metalwork into the One Teaspoon store located at Westfield Sydney. Constructed out of 10mm Mild Steel this intricate front screen represents One Teaspoon’s unique style and branding, and displays OX Engineering as one of the country’s best architectural metal fabrication shops with industry leading machinery. When One Teaspoon designers met with Terry Tisdale, owner of OX, they were surprised to hear he could manufacture it with out any problems. They had struggled to find a manufacturer with machines capable of producing the intricately designed screen.“It’s one of the largest screens of its kind in the country. It’s an innovative leap forward in shop front design and construction. Due to the technology and the size of the machines, this sort of manufacturing is now possible. The capacity of the machines is larger and technology has gotten more affordable,” Tisdale says.



Two of Sydney’s most famous buildings have been transformed into a hip 5-star hotel. Story: Joanna Lowry QT Sydney: 49 Market Street, Sydney NSW (02) 8262 0000 or



T Sydney, unveiled in September, is the first five-star hotel to be built in Sydney’s CBD in over a decade. But the $60m project, a fusion of two historic buildings (the State Theatre Building, which is listed on the State Heritage Register, and the Gowings Building, which was the first multi-storey department store in Australia), isn’t your typical five-star hotel; it’s a ‘boutique’ hotel. “I don’t really like the word ‘boutique’; it’s so overused these days,” Nic Graham, QT Sydney’s Public Space Designer says. “But it does imply a high level of design. And the hotel is sophisticated. Having said that, it’s not your classic neat and tidy beige interior.” “It’s intimate; it’s emotionally appealing; it’s quirky,” Stephen Howard, PR Manager for Amalgamated Holdings Limited (AHL), the owner of QT Sydney, says of the hotel. “The point of difference is that it specifically caters to design-oriented people: art lovers, fashion lovers, and food and beverage lovers.”

BOUTIQUE CHIC The ‘boutique’ branding of QT Sydney was the brainchild of AHL Managing Director David Sergeant. A frequent traveller, Sergeant checked in to an array of designer hotels across Europe and North America before recognising a gap in the local market and deciding to bring the concept home. QT Gold Coast was the first cab off the rank, followed up QT Port Douglas. Both hotels reference their beachside location with what Howard describes as a “Miami-like vibe. There are lots of bright colours and they’re quite light and airy.” QT Sydney was a different kettle of fish. Or lack there of. Although Sydney’s a beachside city, the hotel’s situated right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the CBD, at the intersection of two major roads: Market Street and George Street. “It’s a high thoroughfare area, an inner-city area, and an area with a lot of history,” Howard says.

The State Theatre was originally developed by AHL, and for many years AHL’s head office resided above it. The Gowings Building, on the other hand, was owned and occupied by the Gowings Bros retail family from 1929 until 2006. In 2006, AHL purchased it with the intention of combining the sites. Much of the QT Sydney project was about rediscovering and celebrating the rich history of the two neighbouring buildings. Woodhead was engaged as Master Architect and led the heritage restoration process, collaborating with Jonathan Bryant from Graham Brooks and Associates and Sydney City Council’s Senior Heritage Specialist, Margaret Desgrand. Gothic features, including gargoyles and mounted knights originally designed by Crawford H. Mackellar, were returned to their former glory after collecting dust for more than 60 years. Vintage doors and floor tiles were restored, and they even managed to resurrect an original urinal, which can now be found in the reception level men’s rest room. But it wasn’t all fun and games. “The Gowings Building was stone clad, and about 30 percent of that façade needed replacing,” Angelo DiMarco from Woodhead says. “Windows leaked and required secondary glazing. The timber floors had to be retained along with several floors of heritage partition walls and doors.” There was also the challenge of joining the two buildings and lining up the different floor levels. “The structure of each building was different and required different seismic treatment, structural bracing and façade rectification techniques.”

INSIDE & OUT Woodhead also led the back of house design, coordinating the efforts of all the consultants, including interior designer Nick Graham, who oversaw the fitout of the public and restaurant areas. Interior designer and architect, Shelley Indyk, took care of the 200 guest rooms.

The innovative bar design was dreamt up by Nicholas Graham. Di Emme stepped up to develop the design of the bar front feature, then fabricate the complex aluminium cladding, taking into consideration the form and function of the bar and how the aluminium panels interfaced with each other and the structural framework. The comfort of a customer standing or sitting at the bar was also considered.

CONTACTS Woodhead (Architecture): (03) 9670 4155 or Shelley Indyk (Guest Rooms) (02) 9361 6850 or Nic Graham + Associates (Public Spaces): (02) 9698 6862 or Point Of View (Lighting Consultant): (03) 9017 4161 or BUILT (Head Contractor): (02) 8332 4111 or Love Art (Art Consultant): Graham Brooks & Associates (Heritage Consultant): 02 9299 8600 or

FURNITURE Hughes Commercial Furniture: 1800 242 479 or Diemme (Barfront): (02) 9550 0811 or Stellar Works: Furniture Labo (QT Collection designed by Nic Graham): Temperature Design: (03) 9419 1447 or Think Outside (District Eight): Le Forge: Brintons (Custom Rugs): 1800 332 694 or


LIGHTING Nocturnal Designs (Custom Lighting): (02) 9349 2011 Dunlin: Dedece (Tom Dixon): Bribe Glassware: Space Furniture (Roll & Hill): Euroluce: (02) 9356 9900 or Fromage La Rue:



Indyk had tremendous fun designing guest room of real character, with Gowings rooms distinctly different to State Theatre rooms. Standouts include rooms built into the Managing Directors’ old office and the Gowings boardroom. The bathrooms have four stone choices: the Gowings mix combines bluestone basalt largeformat tiles and black granite vanities, while the State Theatre uses Brazilian slate and antique brown granite vanities. The design of the dining areas, including Gowings Bar & Grill (helmed by Robert Marchetti of North Bondi Italian and Bondi Icebergs), and Gilt Lounge, was similarly refined. But for the foyer and reception areas, Graham set about having some fun. “For me, it was all about that vintage wink and having a sense of humour,” he says. “It was about bright colours and carpets that look like they’re having a party, and turning an old building into something really modern.” To that end, he installed a huge LED display wall of digital art in the hotel’s reception. He commissioned an artist from Copenhagen to put together a wall of vintage suitcases. He trawled markets, op-shops and eBay for one-off pieces and memorabilia, and came out with some real gems, like a double-sided free form chaise in bronze embossed leather, and a 1970s rhinoceros head. Bowler hat lampshades, old mannequins and barber chairs are a throwback to Gowings’ glory days of hatmakers, seamstresses and $10 cuts. Meanwhile, the theatrical history of the State Theatre is referenced by the front-of-house staff, who get dolled up each night in cheeky costumes designed by Janet Hine, the woman behind Dame Edna’s wardrobe. “There’s definitely an element of voyeurism, of peek-a-


boo, going on,” Graham says. “Not that the girls out the front with their red wigs are dirty or sleazy or anything; they’re absolutely bright and amazing ambassadors for the hotel. It was a result of us thinking about inner city hotels and all the little windows and the fact that people can’t help but notice what is going on inside those windows — on one level, people moving around, on another, people in the gym, on another, a guy reading a newspaper, on another, someone in a bathrobe. The desire to peer inside is a part of human nature.”

UP TO THE MINUTE HISTORICAL ‘Boutique’ may be the hotel term du jour, but what does it actually stand for? “What QT Sydney has achieved is something never seen before in Australia,” Churchill says, citing “good food, atmosphere, comfort, quality, richness and a unique experience” as the hallmarks of a successful boutique business. “The mould has been broken,” she says. “It’s a great opportunity for designers to have freedom for the next round of hotels, cafés and restaurants.” As Howard points out, in a city like Sydney, there’s an enormous amount of choice, so “you’ve got to guarantee you’re doing something interesting enough and different enough to attract a clientele”. QT Sydney has certainly done something interesting and different, appealing to a cashed up niche market through narrative, branding and design. “I think what you see in its completion is a hotel that ticks all the boxes in terms of where the heritage consultants were trying to go,” Graham says. “Its history has been honoured, but at the same time it’s been given a new lease on life that’s very contemporary, sophisticated and urban.”

Sydney Rocks Fraser Short cracks the Sydney oyster market. Story: Heather Barton The Morrison Cnr George & Grosvenor, Sydney NSW (02) 9247 6744 or



or a city with a rock oyster named in its honour, how is it possible that Sydney does not have oyster bars all over town? Hotelier Fraser Short has seen fit to do his part to remedy that glaring omission with The Morrison, a New York-style brasserie and oyster bar seating more than 200 on George Street down towards the Quay — a historic site that was once part of the original parade ground of the colony. He said, “There’s a very big movement overseas around oyster bars that isn’t yet fully understood here.” The Oyster Bar sits on the front stoop of the 1912, formerly the Brooklyn Hotel with the public bar refurbished and renamed The Parlour and an outdoor terrace, The Conservatory, which now fits seamlessly into the undercroft of Harry Seidler’s iconic Grosvenor Place building that bears down upon it in all its imposing Modernism. Short said, “It’s a big responsibility fitting in with a place like this.”

what’s required in a high-stakes hospitality fitout and it shows in the level of detail in the fitout.

LOCAL SUPPLIERS Executive Chef Sean Connolly said, “Our food is grown up. The best quality, done simply. Our oyster bar offers over 30 Australian varieties, our meats are cooked on the bone or in the shell, and we use local suppliers and support our Australian growers. I’m very excited about what we are achieving at The Morrison.” Sommelier Michael Block is backed up by a clever wine list and oyster menu presented like a French newspaper, that explains in detail how to enjoy the oysters on offer, their provenance and with which wines they can be perfectly matched. AW SHUCKS The Morrison is an antidote to the super-venues that have dominated the CBD in Sydney in the recent past. Short said, “I wanted people to be able to walk in and feel like they belong. The whole place is primarily designed with women in mind and you can happily bring kids here to eat.” Although he jokes that his own threeyear-old, Felix, is a little terrorist. “This is the kind of place I want to come to myself. “At 28 I wanted to go to places like Cargo Bar and the Loft. I created those places and those experiences have influenced me. It’s like a hand writing.” With the Morrison we see Short’s handwriting maturing. It augurs well for the Watson’s Bay Hotel and we can only wait and see what he does there with anticipation.

COMFORTABLE & ADULT As opposed to relentless minimalism, the interiors by Jeremy Bull at Akin Creative feature wood paneling, mosaic tables, green foliage, a wide-open welcoming corner entrance and large windows for people watching on George Street. The central open bar and the oyster shucking area create the theatre in this very inviting, inclusive space. The overall effect is casual, comfortable and adult. Short said, “We wanted something creative that wasn’t corporate or ‘proper’, that could cater to business and tourists, and was destination for both day and night time crowds.” CONTACTS Calida did the build. Having taken care of the Deck Bar Calida (Builder): (02) 8203 5608 or over the harbour and Hugo’s Bar & Pizza, Calida knows Akin Creative (Architects): (02) 9043 3166 or


Black oiled steel, Australian hardwoods (blackbutt and ironbark by Australian Architectural hardwoods) as well as walnut benchtops and oak tabletops. The subway tiles by Di Lorenzo tiles; blinds by Simple Studios.

44 Fraser Short with The Morrison’s head chef Sean Connolly.

Short Order: A Hospitality Dynasty There’s no stopping Fraser Short. He recently sold out of Keystone, the large hospitality group responsible for many of Sydney’s good-time venues along King Street Wharf, in Kings Cross and in Manly. His next move opening The Morrison Bar & Oyster Room in the CBD. He then bought the fifth-generation Doyle Family’s Watson’s Bay Hotel in an off-market transaction with the Laundy Family for a reported $25m. The son of pub baron Warwick Short, his story is a dynastic one — as is true of much of the established end of Sydney’s hospitality industry. The unlisted Laundy Group, fully owned by the Laundy family and spanning three generations, is one of the biggest and oldest pub operators in the country with a portfolio of 30 venues throughout NSW. The Watson’s Bay Hotel purchase by Short and the Laundys comes after Riversdale Group partners John Singleton and former Qantas head, Geoff Dixon, paid $12.17m for the Marlborough Hotel in Newtown, previously owned by Christopher Crawley and … the late Warwick Short. The Laundy Group recently concluded a $500m joint venture with Woolworth’s Australian Leisure and Hospital Group. The Laundys will reportedly now have a freehold property portfolio leased exclusively to ALH/Woolworths and take a new direction to focus on buying iconic hotels with strategic partners. Hence the relationship with Short. It is the first time the two groups have joined to buy and manage a pub, and is said to be the start of a new arrangement to take the competitive hotel sector head-on. Short said he planned to take a similar approach to the Watson’s Bay Hotel as he did with the Brooklyn Hotel to create The Morrison.



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Sayonara Burswood, and say ‘nin hao’ to Crown Perth. But with $2.2b of new investment it’s much more than a name change. Story: Lucie Robson Crown Perth: Great Eastern Hwy, Burswood WA (08) 9362 7777 or



t was only September when Crown Perth officially entered the world, superseding the older Burswood Entertainment Complex, but what a few months it’s been. The casino floor was substantially expanded, and the opening of a plethora of restaurants and bars as part of the Crown complex has heralded a change in the hospitality landscape of Perth itself — The West Australian reporter Jennifer Susanto-Lee described it as “going gangbusters”. With the addition of the future development of the six-star Crown Towers hotel, Crown’s total investment in Perth will exceed $2.2 billion. Even the driveway got a makeover.

FAMILIAR FACES Some familiar names from Crown Melbourne have joined the stable of venues in Perth including Rockpool, Nobu, Bistro Guillaume, The Merrywell and Cotta. All of the existing restaurants at the complex were given a design overhaul. Two new bars joined the selection, as well — cocktail bar Fusion and Groove Lounge & Bar. It’s not just its sibling and The Star that Crown Perth hopes to outshine — James Packer wants Crown Perth to compete globally. Crown has applied to install 500 additional gaming machines and 130 additional gaming tables. Subject to official approval, these will be rolled out over the next five years. F&B OPTIONS Andrew Hill is Crown’s Chief Operating Officer — Hotels and Entertainment, with all the F&B outlets part of his beat. Talking to venue, he says that Crown Perth really does have something for every consumer - and the chops to take on other casinos in the region. There is also some-

thing peculiarly Western Australian about it all, as well. venue: Since the beginning of the mining boom Perth has really been going places. What have you noticed? Andrew Hill: I moved from Crown Melbourne to Perth in 2005 and in that time the city of Perth has changed dramatically. Socially it is changing and there’s now a big emphasis on the small bar scene, high quality restaurants and more modern, on-trend entertainment facilities.  Benchmarks are constantly rising and Perth is now a more vibrant and exciting city to live in: it is definitely the place to be! venue: Are locals getting behind the new developments or is Crown seen as an East Coast interloper? AH: Western Australians are very parochial and proud (rightly so) of their state and do get behind and support new, high-quality products. The Crown brand and products associated with it are quality, luxury brands and from what we have seen so far from the Perth public, they agree. Since our rebuilding of the old Burswood and transformation to Crown Perth we have seen a great uptake of people dining at our restaurants and staying in our hotels. venue: Crown Perth replicates some of the dining options available at Crown in Melbourne. How has that played out?   AH: That’s  true, we have a few brands here in Perth that  are also in Melbourne such as Rockpool Bar & Grill, Nobu, Bistro Guillaume and The Merrywell. The advantage is that you can take a good look at what has been done on opening, modify it to meet local expectation, serve the best local produce, have the right look and feel, and present the brand to a new and targeted market. All of our venues take a proactive approach to the product offering, service standard and design that

Our vision is to deliver a true world-class, fivestar integrated resort that can compete on a global scale

Nobu: modern Japanese cuisine with Peruvian influences, designed by architect Michael Fiebrich based in Singapore. Overlooking Perth city, river, pools and tropical gardens, Nobu Perth offers diners a theatrical Teppanyaki experience (the only Nobu restaurant with Teppanyaki) complete with a private Teppan dining room. Another unique feature is the Sake Bar boasting an extensive sake menu. Michael Fiebrich:

The Merrywell: an American ‘Dude Food’ concept pub led by Vegas-based chefs Sammy DeMarco and Grant Macpherson and designed by architectural practice Taylor Robinson. Natural and organic materials with a rustic edge create a warm and inviting space. The surroundings are earthy yet urban, with a fresh and airy feel. The internal dining area is divided into sections, creating intimacy, while an al fresco area boasts a more open plan space. Exposed materials such as concrete, stone, timber and brick create an effortless and edgy feel, adding to the casual vibe. This combination of raw materials with premium features embodies the concept of nature meeting the city. Taylor Robinson: (08) 9388 6111 or


Bistro Guillaume (Above): with chef Guillaume Brahimi’s take on modern French cuisine, this restaurant has been very popular since opening. The venue was designed by Red Design Group, which also designed Bistro Guillaume in Crown Melbourne.


Red Design Group: (03) 9693 2500 or

Rockpool Bar & Grill (Above): Neil Perry Rockpool is designed by Grant Cheyne, and is softer and more relaxed than its Sydney and Melbourne sisters. It features a large, light and spacious dining room with central open kitchen and signature, wood-fired grill, custom designed furniture and lighting, and views into the impressive wine cellar and meat ageing room. Grant Cheyne: 0417 595 732 or

fits the Western Australian lifestyle and climate — taking full advantage of our great light, and being bright, friendly and approachable. venue: How do the new F&B options at Crown Perth cater to different demographics? AH: We recognise we need to cater to different groups and demographics, and also be realistic to the needs of our visitors and guests. While you might feel like a premium dining experience one night, and you have great choice at Crown Perth between Nobu, Rockpool Bar & Grill, Modo Mio, Yu and Bistro Guillaume, on another night you may feel like a pint and a burger — and we can do that too! We have designed our food outlets to fulfill that changing need and therefore offer something for everyone. Also, having bar options in premium restaurants gives diners the opportunity to try a new venue through the bar menu, enjoy a pre or post dinner drink before moving on, or simply relax after a long day and watch the world go by. Comfort and attention to detail is crucially important to us which is why we are very fussy with restaurant design and fitout — it must be the best.

YOUR OWN BIGGEST COMPETITION venue: What special attributes do bars and restaurants need to have when they are part of a larger complex or resort?   AH: This is a very important point. Crown Perth is not only the number one tourist attraction in Perth with over seven million visits a year, we are also Western Australia’s largest single-site, private sector employer with over 5200 staff. So all of the outlets need to have their own DNA, so to speak, so they can attract their own customers. It is important they separate themselves from other internally competing outlets and we like to have definition in cuisine between outlets. For example, we have Italian, French, Cantonese, modern Japanese, international buffet, etc. We try not to have outlets competing against each other but rather complementing each other. venue: Do you have some favourite food or beverage trends? Does this come into your decision-making as head of F&B?

AH: I do. I really like the ‘share food’ philosophy and bespoke beverages trend that is emerging right now, but I try not let it influence my decision making as I prefer to be as objective as I can when looking at concepts and new proposals. Crown Perth is a large property that caters to all tastes and preferences, so something that may not appeal directly to me may be a key driver for a core demographic to the resort that we need to service. We also need to know what is happening in the marketplace outside of Crown Perth, so we are aware of emerging trends with our competitive set and respond accordingly. It is all about the experience: we provide the best experience, again reinforcing that there is something for everyone at Crown Perth.

GRAND PLANS venue: What’s the grand ambition for Crown Perth? AH: Our vision is to deliver to the people of Western Australia a true world-class, five-star integrated resort that they can be proud of and that can compete on a global scale. We have the best climate in the whole of Australia on our doorstep so our outdoor assets are very important. We have developed a huge 6200sqm of outdoor pools, waterslides, private cabanas and gardens to enjoy a drink or meal and outside decks and balconies are a must. venue: How will Crown Perth compete with other resorts and casinos internationally? AH: We are proud of the fact that Crown Perth is an integrated resort with an entertainment option for everyone — stay with us in either Crown Metropol or Crown Promenade, eat in one of our 31 restaurants and bars, dance in the nightclub, be pampered at Isika Spa, lay by our luxurious pools in the Western Australian sun, enjoy a show in our 2300-seat Lyric Crown Theatre, listen to live music, attend a convention at world-class Crown Perth Convention Centre or play in the casino — we are moving forward with a vast array of credible assets. Next stop: Crown Sydney? At the time of writing, the Crown Limited empire is set to expand with the Crown Barangaroo hotel casino in Sydney proceeding to the next stage of government consideration. We’ll be bringing our readers more in venue issues to come.


Modo Mio Cucina Italiana: modern Italian cuisine with Milanese chef Giampaolo Maffini leading the team. Architect Michael Fiebrich from Michael Fiebrich Design has created a relaxed and stylish interior, which transports guests to Italy from the moment they enter the space. Everything from the antique weathered finishes on the furniture, hand blown glass chandeliers and intricate mosaics on the walls, leaves guests feeling like they have stumbled across something special. Michael Fiebrich:


Alumbra has been alive for 10 years. The first five years as a small cocktail bar promoting good music with good drinks. Then we moved to our current location [Central Pier, Docklands] and became Alumbra on steroids. From the beginning we knew we needed a modular venue, from 800-plus to smaller rooms of 200-300. We can run a function in one side that totally sits separate from the bar/general public. The era of big venues has passed. Five years ago Melbourne had QBH, Neverland and the Metro — all 1000-plus capacity. No more. The challenge is having a good-sized venue you can maintain and sustain. Alumbra has the capacity to put 1000 people through the venue, but on a Sunday night in winter you can have a great night with 200 people. It’s important that a venue has some sort of atmosphere, even with 30-40 people in it. My background is in DJing, which really is about managing a vibe or a mood in a venue. My job managing Alumbra is still largely about that. A DJ gets to observe a lot about a venue. When people come into the space, where do they feel comfortable? Where to they go first? Why do some venues feel instantly comfortable while other struggle in that department? I find it easier to see the issues — whether the floorplan is wrong, or the heating is set badly, or the lighting is too bright… Big open spaces are a problem. It reminds me of the early days, DJing at a school social in a big hall with everyone sitting along the walls. The organisers would be like, “C’mon, get the party started!” I call it the school social effect. You’re trying to break it. Good design is crucial for ‘getting the party started’, and I enjoy working with the architects and designers. I like to bridge the gap of understanding what works operationally, and the atmosphere you need for people to feel comfortable. We put booth and table service in place two years ago and we’ve now got it right. We have 15 booths and we have a range of packages.


20 uestions with

Simon Digby

Director of Alumbra Nightclub Alumbra boss, Simon Digby, has carved out a reputation for being one of the best late-night operators in the country.

When you book a booth you’re not just booking the space, you’re booking the experience. There’s a sense of theatre and you have your own waitress. Service in America is on another level. Why? It’s very simple. They’re on incentives: the nicer you are, the more money you make. Tipping is the currency. We don’t have that in Australia. Wait staff in the US operate like a business within a business. They’ve got their bum bags, their $200 float and off they go. How much money they make that night is entirely down to how they go about their job. I just got back from Milan. I love coffee. So every hour I’m popping into an espresso bar for a shot. The barista would never handle the money — he wears the white jacket and he’s the barista; that’s his career. Another guy I met made panini, had done for 30 years. That was his career, and he was passionate about it. Shows like Masterchef are changing perceptions in Australia. If my son wanted to do home economics 20 years ago, I’d be concerned. Now it’s like, ‘Oh wow! He’s going to be a chef!’ Alumbra is at the end of a pier. And we’re in Melbourne’s Docklands, which isn’t blessed with an amazing reputation as a destination. So we’ve had our challenges. But we’re loyal to our clientele and we provide them with an experience. I say to my staff: ‘By the time someone orders a drink, they’ve probably had to contend with football traffic, they might have had to park, they might have had to walk, they might have had to wait in line. By the time they get to the bar, they’re exhausted so let’s give them something.’ Being given a smile with your drink is expected; trapeze artists aren’t — that’s what they’ll go away talking about. We’ve got an iPhone app that provides you with directions to the venue, how best to park, and the cost of the various parking options. We’ve also instituted a professional valet service. We could have sat there and said parking is an issue, but what are we going to do? Having the valet service was a massive change in perception. We’ve also got a Rewards app that awards points if you invite people and tag people, which helps us promote the business. Collect enough points and you can redeem a free drink at the bar. We’ve turned negatives into positives.



WELCOME BACK COTTA Cotta: The West End at Crown, Southbank VIC Story: Christopher Holder

CONTACT Mim Design: (03) 9826 1266 or WSP Vision Design: (03) 8663 7880 or

It might be the Rockpools, Nobus, and The Atlantics that grab the Crown F&B headlines, but not everyone can dine from the high-roller menu every night. Cotta is a relaxed coffee and sandwich-style outlet in the re-imagined west end of Crown Melbourne that provides some down-to-earth sustenance at down-to-earth prices. That said, the only thing ‘down to earth’ about the fitout is the semi-eponymous reliance on terracotta as a design staple. Mim Design took care of the design, along with a full dance card of completing the naming, graphics and branding, uniform design, food display and packaging design, full accessories styling and static visual merchandising. Phew! Mim Design principal Miriam Fanning and her team were in every other day to ensure every aspect of the fitout was properly realised. “This was really about creating something different off the gaming floor,” noted Miriam. “Something that was a bit more tactile and home-made and nurtured.”

Plenty was custom designed, with assistance from Jardan with the sofas, and such was the attention to detail that even Crown (renowned for being pretty darn meticulous) was taken aback. “Crown absolutely appreciates and understand detail. It doesn’t matter whether the job is high end, like the Mahogany Room, or a pub. They still spend the time going through detail. Which is brilliant.” Cotta is a refuge. It stands alone as a venue and provides some welcome respite from the gaming floor’s assault on the senses. It was also designed as a prototypical blueprint, so Cotta in Crown Perth is cast from the same mould and indeed any future Cotta will take its lead. “Cotta could work anywhere,” Miriam explains. “And architecturally we wanted it to feel like its own venue, not just ‘here’s a fitout, some furniture and some walls’. It had to actually feel like it could work in a street, on the water’s edge… anywhere.”

The barfront takes shape in the Di Emme workshop.

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Smooth End of the Pineapple The Argyle precinct of The Rocks has a fruity and sophisticated new arrival. Story: Lucie Robson Photos: Anson Smart Ananas: 18 Argyle St, The Rocks NSW



he already-bustling Argyle precinct in one of Sydney’s oldest suburbs has a fruity new resident. The French-Mediterranean-art-deco style champagne-and-cocktail-bar-restaurantsupper-club Ananas also has an Oyster Bar and serves food until 3am. Those with some high-school French will know that Ananas means ‘pineapple’. CEO of Urban Purveyor group John Szangolies describes the fruit as a “symbol of hospitality and welcome.” Although now best known for its role in the Hawaiian pizza, “it has historically been associated with the exotic,” he says. In the Urban Purveyor Group’s Argyle precinct, Ananas joins Saké Restaurant and Bar and The Cut Bar and Grill, as well as The Argyle nightspot itself. “Our vision for Ananas was to create a modern cocktail and champagne bar, complemented by the splendour of an art deco-inspired brasserie and late night supper club,” says Szangolies. “Ananas recalls Europe’s most celebrated venues.” It also recalls the very European tradition of eating dinner over drinks late into the night. Realising the distinct flavour that Urban Purveyor Group wanted to give Ananas, meant enlisting Sydney design firm Luchetti Krelle for the project. Melissa Collison provided final styling assistance.

PARIS FIELD TRIP “The first step was a research trip to Paris!” say Luchetti Krelle designers Isabel Koenig Woodroffe and Rachel Luchetti. “Inspiration certainly came from the interiors we saw but the real glamour came from the Parisian men and women; the way they walked, congregated on the pavement outside the any number of bistros that lined the streets, and most importantly the way they dressed. “All of the these uniquely French cultural tendencies informed everything, from the layout of spaces to details as small as the leather trim, to the tops of the banquettes.”

The interior of Ananas, which has a bar area leading into the brasserie with an archway connecting the two, features numerous mirrors. The designers remark that these create more of a sense of space, and capture and reflect little pieces of action around the rooms. “The energy and frisson of Brasserie Ananas is captured and reflected all around the room. Each mirror captures the fleeting glance and shared look between two people and creates a continuous sparkle and dazzling light.”

TITILLATED Another star feature of Ananas’ interior is a customdesigned mural, which graces four large mirrors. Isabel and Rachel say they wanted to bring art to the space in a surprising way. They were inspired by art pieces and advertising images from the Art Deco period. “Red flowing hair, a gown slipping evocatively from one shoulder and, of course, pineapples, all feature. During our time in Paris we visited the Musee d’Orsay. What captivated us was the ethereal way the works of Impressionist artist Edouard Manet glowed when viewed in person. The scandal of the work Le Dejeuner sur l’Herbe, where a nude mademoiselle is seated beside two fully clothed men, captivated audiences then and even now. We had to introduce one of these guests to our picnic to hint at the titillating and debauched goings-on of the restaurant.” The Oyster Bar at Ananas serves fruits de mer to hungry patrons, who might stay to admire the inlaid crustacean tiles. “We often saw oyster bars within brasseries in Paris as having their own identity,” say Isabel and Rachel. “We wanted the same feel for Brasserie Ananas’ oyster bar, a special station for the écailleur, or oyster shucker, to create his displays. Classic white tiles with blue trim  were used throughout with French ceramic lights shining over the proceedings. We also found a local artisan who could hand paint fish and molluscs on to a tiled menu board.” The design team found some furniture for Ananas in markets in Paris, including and old theatre dressing



table, while classic bentwood chairs predominate. “We made this furniture our own with custom upholstery and matching paint dipped tops,” they added. “We also arranged for a new style of Bentwood not seen in Australia before. We also love the Frag Titti stool and chair in the bar area; a modernised bentwood upholstered with amazingly intricate laser cut leather.”

FOOD UNTIL 3 Another item acquired in Paris was the chandelier that hangs over the maître d’. “It comprises of hundreds of glass rods that diffuse light in a spectacular way,” say Rachel and Isabel. Luchetti Krelle were the designers for both the decorative and architectural lighting at Brasserie Ananas. In addition to antique lighting pieces found in Parisian markets, new lights were sourced from around the world. Ananas is somewhat unique in Sydney in being able to serve bar food and drinks (accompanied by DJs spinning French House music) until 3am. “The lighting is designed to step down in level throughout the night,” say Isabel and Rachel. “By the early hours of the morning it is like a cloak providing privacy and intimacy in the bar and dining areas.” “Few Sydney venues offer such a complete late night dining experience,” says Ananas manager Francois Laran, who adds that people attending theatre performances and those who are just night owls now have a venue just for them. “We are also located close to Sydney’s financial district where workers are renowned for long hours, but they can still enjoy a good meal even when finishing late.” “I think the Rocks definitely needed another accessible, yet polished, venue in close proximity to CBD,” Francois adds. “Ananas is ideal for corporate lunches, after work drinks and a great night out with friends on the weekend.”

“It’s a sophisticated alternative for people who want to stay out but don’t feel like heavy drinking or clubbing,” says John Szangolies.

SPRINKLING OF MAGIC Francois describes the response from patrons as being overwhelmingly positive. “A lot of people have commented on the ‘wow’ factor as soon as you walk in. First time visitors also say the decor and the fitout really is ‘something else’. Others have commented that Ananas has a ‘sprinkling of magic’ — that it’s a fabulous place to be. Although it’s quite a large space, people have suggested that a welcoming level of intimacy has been achieved.” “Quel scandale!” exclaimed Sydney Town when it was revealed in the press that Ananas had installed urinals — from female Dutch artist Meike van Schijnde — shaped like bright-red open lips. The Luchetti Krelle team say that it was all just a bit of fun. “We wish that our mouth shaped urinals had never been removed. The cartoonish gender-neutral lips, inspired by Mick Jagger’s famous mouth, were meant to be playful and a tongue-in-cheek surprise for everyone who used them. They contributed to the overall more quirky feel in the bathrooms.” But even without the lips there is room for design flair in Ananas’ bathrooms. “Black cockatoos adorn the men’s bathrooms while pink flamingos grace the walls of the women’s bathrooms and graceful gold legs hold up the vanities,” say Isabel and Rachel. You might say that it all has a certain je ne sais quoi. CONTACTS Luchetti Krelle (Architects): (02) 9699 3425 or Melissa Collison (Final Styling): (02) 9328 3300 or Sound on Stage (Audio): (02) 9281 0077 or JSB (Architectural Lighting): (02) 9571 8800 or Hinkley Lighting (Pineapple Lights):

24 Moons Alumbra The Arthouse Hotel Australian Outback Spectacular The Bank Hotel The Botanical Bungalow 8 Brisbane Hotel (Perth) Club Marconi Discovery Establishment Half Moon Hornsby RSL Ivy Katuk Kudu Lounge Luxe Bar The Mean Fiddler The Met Oxford Art Factory Slip Inn

CLEARED FOR TAKEOFF Story: Ailsa Brackley du Bois Little Ludlow: Melbourne Intl. Airport Departures Terminal (T2E)

I 58

n our newly enlightened era of locating quality hospitality ventures within global transit lounges, Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport is attracting its share of significant investments. The first two chefs to lift the culinary tone of T2, and extend their brand in this way, were Shannon Bennett with Café Vue (which now has two outlets there) and Frank Camorra with Bar Pulpo by Movida. Frequent flyers in the early naughties will have traumatic recollections of the countless hours spent, tired, parched and ravenous with only a few roller-door-clad, fluoro-lit, fast food outlets to calm the frazzled nerves. In retrospect, high-quality airport food and beverage options seems like a no-brainer, but industry change takes time, especially where forethought and finances are involved, so in reality, strategic planning for this market channel has been underway for quite some time. venue reported on the early days of Melbourne Airport’s T2 expansion back in 2011 [Issue 40]. At that stage, the new Tullamarine wing was just being launched. The 10m-high ceilings and runway views excited local operators, as early entrants were able to have genuine creative impact on the spaces they would soon occupy.

SISTER ACT The most recent venture to open at Melbourne Airport is the lusciously endowed and aptly named Little Ludlow; younger sister of the established Ludlow Bar & Dining Room by the Yarra at Southbank. With a project budget of approximately $1.8m, Red Rock Airport Services commissioned Maddison Architects to design Little Ludlow as a modern Melbournestyle bar on the 322sqm tenancy footprint. The idea was to emulate the tone and feel of the big sister venue, while reinterpreting elements in a way that suited the vast scale of the space. Little Ludlow opened in early 2012, following a year of planning. Paul O’Brien, Managing Director and owner of Red Rock Leisure, says “We wanted to do something within the airport rebuild and refurbishment that was a smaller version of our bar in the city, in line with the growing trend and market interest in having an ‘off-airport experience’ at the airport. “There are lots of good examples of this now at airports around the world, and I’ve visited many of them in the process of getting ideas. But there’s nothing I’ve seen that made me think ‘Gee, we have to do it like that’. We just knew we wanted something that didn’t feel as tran-

sient as what you find in your standard food court. We wanted a modern interpretation of a traditional pub — a bar with food.”

SETTING THE BAR HIGH As a multiple venue owner, Paul O’Brien knew more than a little something about what he wanted to achieve. Red Rock Leisure own a diverse range of hospitality and tourism attractions such as the five popular P.J. O’Brien’s bars up and down the east coast, Melbourne’s Tramcar Restaurants, the Eureka Skydeck at Southbank and a range of other noteworthy venues. Its Melbourne Airport outlets include Macchinetta, Able Baker Charlie, Hightide Express and others in T2 and T3. For Maddison Architects, the Little Ludlow project demanded an astute reinterpretation of its (city-based) Ludlow design — adding new finesse and taking Little Ludlow to the next level, and a multi-faceted one at that. The cavernous site presented multiple interesting challenges including the scale of volumes, a highly functional approach to the existing floor plan and vistas to runways. Having designed projects as broad-ranging as the Taxi Dining Room at Fed Square and Isabella at the New Royal Women’s Hospital in Parkville, Maddison was well equipped to handle the task. Amir Shayan of Maddison Architects says, “Our client entrusted us with the task of developing a solution for this site, and was flexible in how we interpreted it.“ The construction, fitout and project management for Little Ludlow was taken care of by Leeda Projects. Over 25 years, this company have been responsible for a string of projects that reads rather like a who’s who of Melbourne’s pre-eminent dining experiences: Mirka at Tolarno, Grossi Florentino, Café Vue, Botanical, Cumulus Inc. and Fed Square’s Transport Public Bar. TAVERN TOUCHES Kaye Hodges, of pomp (furniture), confirms that the seating emphasis for Little Ludlow was overwhelmingly one of barstools. “There’s over 100 custom-made stools there,” she notes. “Yes there’s a bit of couching and other types of seating, but this client really likes unique furniture; nothing off the shelf. So when we created this stool, which we call the Ludlow Stool, we did so with a few things in mind: durability was number one, followed by comfort and generosity of size. And they have a real softness to them, even down to the stitching detail in the fabric.”

CONTACTS Maddison Architects (Architect): (03) 9696 3636 or Leeda Projects (Fitout Contractor): (03) 9357 6320 or pomp (Furniture): (03) 9696 9669 or Sourceress (Antique Parquetry): Anibou (Lighting Products & Installations): (03) 9654 5222 or Volker Haug (Lighting): (03) 9387 1803 or Boral (Concrete Blockwork): 1300 134 002 or


Superfly: Warm, earth-coloured natural materials combine well with the arresting runway views and reflective surfaces of the airport at Little Ludlow. The resulting look and feel is that of a contemporary and sophisticated tavern, just as owner Paul O’Brien had hoped.


Lighting Bloc Party: The tetrahedral timber-framed lights are by Henry Pilcher. Called ‘Bloc 2’, they were supplied by Anibou. The quirky ‘u’ (for ‘uniquely yours’ cable jewellery) drop pendants, ceiling Toms, and custom-bent form bar lighting is by Volker Haug, a Melbourne-based lighting designer.

This warmly tactile venue has the air of a sophisticated tavern. It provides a soothing airside space, servicing the food, beverage and sensory needs of travellers from 7am until 1am everyday. The spirited use of antique French oak parquetry is just one of the many elements that adds to the appeal. It’s an interesting mix of materials at play; part industrial chic and part rustic retreat. It’s this layering of texture that helps make the space seem more personal than your standard harder-edged industrial look allows. Owner Paul O’Brien remarks: “We used a lot of natural materials and reclaimed timber. We wanted to leave the aged patina of the parquetry on show, to let it be distressed, not sanded back and made new. Recycling was what we had in mind. By reusing materials like the salvaged wood and the tiles that have come from old building sites and demo yards, we created a space that feels comfortable. We do get that feedback from customers; that it’s a place to sit and pause and relax. “Because we used humble materials, it’s a contrary environment to the bright lights, shiny surfaces around it. Modern airports are often sheer glazing, and functionally focused, putting all the emphasis on being quick, but people need relief from that.”

mindset when they’re at the airport, waiting to board their flight. For business travellers too, it’s an alternative to the business lounge. “Once they’ve got through security with the long waiting times, and done their duty-free shopping they need to grab a breath before moving on. The audio we have has to be fairly subtle and ambient, so that our music never dominates the place. The airport systems still require that announcements can cut in and override the music.” Due to such considerations, the sound system was actually installed after the initial fitout using German Canton ProXL.3 loudspeakers to deliver an iPod-driven compilation of music mixed by DJ Marcus, resident DJ for the Temperance Hotel (another Red Rock Leisure venue). Paul believes “The market is more discerning now than they used to be, just as they are off-site in normal life. They demand great coffee, quality food and a good range of beers. Even though they know they’ll get a meal on their flight, they’re quite happy to have a meal in Little Ludlow where it’s cooked fresh on-site, not processed or brought in by third party suppliers. We have a gun slot window into our kitchen, so people can see that this is freshly prepared food. It’s to the advantage of the consumer.” PAUSING FOR A MOMENT As you’d expect there’s a good range of beers available Paul points out that “for family and leisure travellers, on tap, as well as bottled beers, quality wines and spironce they’ve left their homes to go to the airport, their its, and a cocktail list. There’s also a gourmet menu of journey has already started, and they’re in a different goodies to choose from, including ‘little plates,’ pizzas,

mains and desserts. The owner sought something for everybody to enjoy, including the kiddies.

SOAKING UP THE SPACE Paul reflects: “The thing I’m most happy with is that it’s not just one large, unvaried footprint. It has different pockets of spaces; so there’s a series of experiences, not just a big room or hall. There’s even suspended ceiling details to contain the space, and put a lid on things.” The immense height of the space was in fact tempered by using delicately engineered stepping steel canopies, oversized cylindrical graphic, signage drums and an 8m-high tiled and recycled timber-clad feature. This also helps counter balance the look of the adjacent tenancies. The result is a range of ‘high and low’ forms, and a homogenous grading of scale through the site. Little Ludlow asserts its presence within the larger terminal through designed signage and ‘statement’ feature walls. The result is an accomplished design solution that engages with the vast scale of the space, brings it to a human size, and creates some luscious intricacies within an otherwise generic and potentially sterile site. The distinct character for Little Ludlow was created by way of scale, texture and material. As Amir Shayan of Maddison Architects observes: “The gradation of spaces from bar, to dining, to lounge, offers patrons a variety of experiences and settings within the one venue, enhanced by the spectacular views, and the materials that weave throughout.”

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GRAND DESIGNER Claus Sendlinger had a big idea… actually he’s had a few. venue talks exclusively with the Design Hotels’ boss about how he’s realised his vision. Story: Heather Barton 62


laus Sendlinger is a cult leader of sorts. A charismatic, but unpretentious, original thinker, Sendlinger is more Ken Kesey, than David Koresh, as cult leaders go. The Founder and CEO of Design Hotels, Sendlinger attracts like-minded creatives expansive enough in their own thinking to understand his vision. He also attracts committed colleagues and staff for whom it’s more than a job and he’s more than a boss. This is nowhere more evident than with his latest vision, The Papaya Playa Project on an idyllic beach in Tulum on the Gulf of Mexico, where turtles emerge from turquoise waters to lay their eggs in fine white sand and where he is aiming to create nothing less than a new community. If you’re looking to create something almost utopian in its outlook, building it in paradise is a good place to start. (See story on the Papaya Playa Project elsewhere this article.)

MORE THAN A FANCY SOFA In simple terms, Design Hotels is a marketing company for the more innovative and exotic end of the hospitality industry but one that has a much bigger agenda than simply promoting well-designed hotels. This global group gathers a curated collection of distinctive and expressive hotels and the visionaries, or Originals, as they refer to those behind them. Sendlinger says its not enough to have a good design anymore. “A designer sofa in the lobby won’t put you ahead of the competition. It is the originality of the concept and the individuality of the personalities behind it that distinguishes our member hotels from other properties. These Originals are at the heart of our brand. And that’s why we have brought their stories and their passion to the fore across all of Design Hotels’ communication platforms.”

To be part of the Design Hotels Group, in short, you a two-month-long summer holidays. I could take the have to have a real story to tell. Inter-rail and travel all around Europe. The first time I did so, I went all the way to Turkey and Gibraltar. This is PLAYING BALL when I first knew I wanted a career in travel.” Now 49, Sendlinger started out as a 15-year-old, with “After being discharged from the Air Force I applied for a middle school education in the tiny textiles town of every, and any, job I could in travel. I couldn’t get anyAugsburg, in Bavaria, who just wanted play soccer and thing and then finally this chic little Augsburg travel stage underground House parties. agency offered me a job. They actually created a position An only child, whose mother, Marianne worked as a for me. At 22 I started an apprenticeship to become a secretary in one of the textiles companies and whose fa- travel agent but by that stage I’d already staged an event ther, Joseph, worked in a toy store selling model trains, for 300,000 people and my employers realised they had Sendlinger sold toys in another shop belonging to a to give me a real challenge to keep me interested.” friend of his father, until he was 18 before being called It came in the form of the 18,000 US soldiers stationed up for National Service in ’82. near Augsburg. He joined the Air Force rather than take the softer option of doing social service because he thought he’d get MILITARY PRECISION more opportunity to play soccer and the Air Force base American Express arranged the US soldiers’ travel onsite. The military wanted part of the commission Amerwas only 30km from home. This was the early ’80s at the height of the Cold War ican Express was making. American Express was relucarms build up, when Helmut Kohl, who was to become tant to relinquish it. The military decided to open the Germany’s longest serving Chancellor since Bizmark, travel contract up to tender. was allied to a US lead by a former-actor and hawk- Sendlinger’s bosses were successful tenderers. “My ish confrontationist, called Ronald Reagan. The Ber- boss’s father closed his Augsburg flower shop and relin Wall had not come down, the Soviet Union had not opened it on the same day as a travel agency, which is collapsed and the Air Force Base outside Augsburg was where I started working,” he said. “Within nine months I had taken over the running of the office and then I launching the Star Fighter. Sendlinger said, “We had 300,000 guests for the launch bought it. I didn’t make a great deal but I finally had my of the Star Fighter. Under the guidance of a very old- own business. school Sergeant, I learnt the protocols of dealing with “As a result, I got to fly around the world for free beofficials and politicians, presidents and the defence hi- cause of the industry deals available. So at 25, I was flyerarchy in a very structured, disciplined way. In four ing first class. I had the agency. I had an events business years I got a complete education in the media: press, where we had DJs playing to 3-4000 people and I was flying to California buying old Cadillacs and shipping photography and filmmaking.” Perhaps equally, if not more importantly, he said, “The them back to Germany to use as hire cars for AmeriMilitary afforded me lots of holiday, because if you were can soldiers and others in Germany.” The word ‘drive’ good at sport they gave you time in lieu, which meant comes easily to mind in relation to Sendlinger.

“I knew that I could create a different kind of business based on lobby culture, music and the creative classes”

Some of the many international faces of the Design Hotels’ affiliates.



DESIGN SEEDS It was while in The States in New York City for a New Music Seminar for DJs and booking agents, held at the Paramount Hotel that the seeds of what would become Design Hotels were sown. The Paramount in 1988, along with the Royalton that opened in 1987, was one of the first boutique hotels in the marketplace. “This is where I knew that I could create a different kind of business based on lobby culture, music and the creative classes,” he said. “So with Peter Schweitzer I founded Design Hotels in California. We didn’t have a business model. We just felt it timely. We wanted to do it through tour operators. Then realised it kind of didn’t work with tour operating. We then started to do promotion through tradeshows like Salon Mobile and found we could drive real business to the hotels we were targeting. “We developed a plan where we would charge a marketing fee and set up a central reservation system on a transaction-based model. It would be a private label service, with a bookable two-letter code using our own GDS code (for the uninitiated, that’s a Global Distribution System, a computerised reservation network used as a single point of access for reserving airline seats, hotel rooms, rental cars, and other travel-related items by agents, online sites, and corporations). 
“After we did the figures we were already millionaires!” he said. “However the hotels had difficulty in understanding what we were doing. Remember, this is the beginning of the internet and email wasn’t widespread until after the mid ’90s. In two years we couldn’t sign one contract. “Then we had one last attempt and invited the hotels we wanted to work with, like Claris in Barcelona, Buci Latin in Paris, The Halkin in London, Hotel Eden in Switzerland, Wasserturm in Cologne and the Triton in San Francisco, with designers like the Kimptons, Andree Putman, Goodman Charlton and Ian Schrager. These were the hotels and designers who made the distinction between a contemporary hotel and a design hotel. It took a year to put together the first contracts. “In the meantime, we were subsidising the Design Hotels idea from our other companies. But it also meant, I went without electricity at home for six months and wondered with every ATM transaction whether I’d get my card back.” BUSINESS ANGEL “Then our first Business Angel in Merrit Sher came along. Merrit, now in his 80s, is incredibly smart and is behind the Terronomics group. Having a nose for a good small business, he saw our brochure, walked in, put up money and gave us advice. “Daniel Adams also came on as an investor. He was young, bright, had studied law and was from a wealthy family. He was looking for something on the side. He networked us into the financial community. By ’98 the whole world was going dot com and we went public in with GmbH [the precursor to Design Hotels AG]. “We were having so much fun, travelling around the world and meeting great people. It was very exciting. I can only compare it to the five months we’ve had now with the Papaya Playa Project.”

Papaya Playa’s ‘lobby’.

BERLIN BOUND By 2000 Sendlinger had moved the company to Berlin. Arabella Starwood had come in as a silent partner and strategic investor with a supervisory board and wanted to trim the operation. Schweitzer and Adams departed, although still on good terms with Sendlinger. Some of the offices were closed and by 2003 they were operating with 200 employees and 50 hotels. “We received hundreds of applications and could have gone to 600-700 hotels,” he said, “but our investor was interested in a long-term strategy, building a brand around the leading hotels of the 21st century.” Given 10 of the 60 Conde Nast Hot List of hotels, are from Design Hotels, that strategy has proven successful. FROM TRAGEDY TO COMMUNITY But despite all this long fought for and hard won success, Sendlinger was then beset by personal tragedy, when he and wife, Polina Sirosh, a Perestroika-era art photographer from St Petersburg, lost their baby daughter Mila. In the wake of tragedy, Emilio Heredia, who owned the Papaya Playa resort — 99 eco-friendly cabanas on the white sands of Tulum stretching across 900 metres of coastline — sent an email asking them to come to Tulum in Mexico. Polina was not coping and Sendlinger felt it better for them to be out of Berlin and to have something to think about other than their overwhelming loss. It proved a welcome and serendipitous suggestion. The family settled on the beach and built an interesting, unimposing house. Their elder son, Alex was enrolled at the Montessori school in Tulum and Polina was pregnant again with their younger son Neo. Sendlinger said, “For the past 10 years I’d been thinking about building an alternative beach community.” He jokes about it being something like the one in Alex Garland’s novel The Beach, but with a happier ending. When meeting in his office in Tulum, means having a working breakfast at the open-air restaurant on the beach, ‘happier ending’ barely begins to describe it. Sendlinger said, “I work remotely and then go into the city when I need to. But I live this super intense life. I spend six months of the year in Mexico, three months in Berlin and another three months travelling.” In Tulum he has helped develop a master plan for Papaya beach and held symposia on how to create a community. He brought a whole lot of trusted friends and colleagues across but understands the story of Tulum is one that writes itself though the people who are attracted to it. “Tulum has a very strong energetic pull,” he said. LESS ORDINARY Design Hotels is clearly no ordinary company. Starwood recently bought Arabella Starwood’s majority sharehold in Design Hotels. What this will mean for the company remains to be seen. What it will mean for its Founder, Sendlinger is the next chapter in this unfolding story. Sendlinger is a serious businessman but one that understands that the business of living is changing and is driven to determine how.

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LIVING IN THE NOW Story: Heather Barton

Papaya Playa Project: Tulum, Mexico +52 (1) 984 116 3774 or

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. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, travel, which had once charmed him, “…seemed, at length, unendurable, a business of colour without substance…” The Papaya Playa Project, on a beatific beach, lapped by turquoise waters in Tulum, Mexico is an attempt to create a travel experience of substance. The groundbreaking, pop-up eco-resort is a visionary venture mounted by Design Hotels, a company renown for it originality. It takes the idea of the pop-up in retail, restaurants and galleries and applies it to a resort context. The pop-up, by its very nature, is based on a concept of impermanence: here and then… gone. Design Hotels Founder and CEO, Claus Sendlinger said, “How can a hotel simply appear and then disappear? That’s a question that we asked ourselves many times when Papaya was just an idea that made us smile.”

END IS NIGH For Sendlinger and his colleagues it also begged the larger question of how to build the end of the project into its very beginning. This is a pertinent question given the state of the global economy, its impact on the travel industry and the need for new and nimble approaches to address it. The Papaya Playa Project is in essence an art-directed event. The first incarnation of which took place over five months between December and May prior to the hurricane season on the Gulf of Mexico. There will be other and different incarnations to follow. Design Hotels is a marketing company. This was their first, and possibly very risky, venture into hotel management. But Sendlinger said, “I’ve been thinking about building an alternative beach community for the past decade.” And build it they did. Literally and from available materials on the beach, refurbishing the 99 rundown cabanas, reinforcing the natural amphitheatre formed by the existing rock shelf and creating a sustainable soft footprint, off the grid, on a stretch of white sand, the serenity of which belies the turbulence of underground vortex and caverns below.

culture. Its magnetic pull, not always benign, is palpable even on a brief encounter. Those who visit testify to violently vivid dreams, spiritual revelations and a sense of communion. These claims are not extravagant in a place where the sunrises can make the soul sing and giant green turtles lay their eggs at ones door step. Sendlinger worked with Emilio Heredia, a local deeply committed to his community who owned the cabanas on this stretch of the Mayan Riviera, and a congregation of creatives drawn from around the world to think the spirit of the project into being. They included Kater Holzig of Berlin’s legendary Bar 25 fame; Mamapapacola, the Germany-based creative agency known for its off-beat ideas; Nutrient rich gastronomy providores 42degrees RAW; The So Happy Spa, to make guests feel just that; artist space Mini-Super and some of the world’s best DJs and performance artists who flew in from New York, Paris and Berlin to be a part of this unique project. The success of the Papaya Playa project is that it draws like-minded locals and those from across the globe to be a part of something. Something happens at Papaya Playa — something that requires the practice of a new set of sensitivities and creates new sensibilities.

NO MINI BAR There are no mini-bars, televisions or telephones in the rooms at Papaya Playa. Lighting is minimal. There is no air-conditioning or room service. There are no desks. Few of the cabanas have en suite bathrooms. This not only reduces energy consumption but also acts to bring people together. Wi-fi is available only in the open-air restaurants and bars so people find themselves together: reading, writing, exchanging ideas and stories and eating, drinking, dancing — even without intending to. Open-air communal wet areas and bathrooms become sites for gentle happenstance. The meandering pathways between cabanas and venues are sentences in the conversation that connect people to the site. While the cabanas are aspected to offer perfect privacy, whether in the embrace of the jungle or on the beach taking in the glory of the Gulf, there is a sense of neighbourliness afforded to those who desire it, simply by sitMAYAN NEXUS ting on the porch or swinging rhythmically in the hamTulum is considered a powerful place within Mayan mocks that hang from the outdoor beams above.

SAY NO TO GOLF COURSES But make no mistake, this is not a simple bucolic narrative, there is a political agenda afoot. Sendlinger said, “At the Papaya Playa Project we have a bigger picture for what should happen here. The community and lobby groups are behind us.” They have worked actively to oppose over development. “We have successfully campaigned against golf courses and parks,” he said. “We don’t need golf courses and parks; that’s not what people come here for. They come for the jungle and the beach.” David Jones, the Australian General Manager of the project, said, “The jungle always wins out anyway. The Mayans understand this in a way that westerners perhaps do not. “To work here, you have to understand the Mayan way of life. There is a difference in work culture here. It’s a lot less complicated and more spiritual. But it’s a spirituality that is not structured in the way we understand it in the west. They are not reliant on western infrastructure, so western monetary systems and western appetites don’t really work here.” Interestingly the Mayan tradition of life is one where “nothing is permanent, embrace the present”. IN THE MOMENT The pop-up is about an acceptance of impermanence in a conceptual sense, of the present. Westerners find it almost impossible to be in the present. Therefore they find it almost impossible to actually ever experience anything. Although they can observe and document it. Hence: “In 1740, New Orleans’ Congo Square was a cultural centre for music and dance. The parties were recounted by an observer as being “indescribable... Never will you see demonstrations of more forgetfulness of the past and the future, and more entire abandonment to the joyous existence to the present moment.” Papaya Playa is about experiencing the joyous existence of the present movement — if you can. Unlike Fitzgerald, who eventually found travel to be the business of colour without substance, Proust said that what one always does when one travels, is to verify a colour that one dreamed about. That colour at Papaya Playa is turquoise, a colour you could only dream of — but you’ll need to verify that for yourselves.

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5-STAR SWISS PLEASE Swissotel Sydney 68 Market Street, Sydney NSW (02) 9238 8888 or

Know much about the Swissotel hotel chain? No, not really? You’re forgiven. There’s only one Swissotel property in Australia, smack bang in the main shopping precinct of Sydney’s CBD. And it’s been reinvesting. As the name suggests, it’s a Swiss chain of five-star hotels, and with that comes plenty of French-Swiss savoir-faire. Not in a snooty way; a Swissotel is classy yet fun. At the beginning of the year the property cottoned onto the fact that there would be a vacuum left by the SCEC rebuild and completed a total renovation of its conference facilities, including the Blaxland ballroom, Maple Room and sizeable pre-function area. AVPartners has been engaged to take care of the technical requirements. Later in the year came the renovation of the Crossroads Bar and the JPB restaurant. The bar renovation is dramatic

and provides just enough privacy — perfect for a nightcap or pre-dinner egg nog. The restaurant is comfortable, smart and serves culturally agnostic cuisine — although during venue’s stay, there was no shortage of Swiss chocolate and fondue… surely it would be criminal not to. Finally, in another nod to the crucial corporate market, the Executive Lounge has been relocated and doubled in size. With that come four refurbished, well-appointed boardrooms. Plans for a gradual refurb of the accommodation rooms are afoot, but for now Swissotel Sydney has made its agenda very clear, making an aggressive push for a bigger slice of the meetings and conference cheese. This is a superbly positioned 5-star hotel, which now has an excellent MICE story to tell.




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Five Star Profile


Florida Beach’s JBL Makeover


Amina loudspeakers are low profile, full frequency devices that are normally installed below a final skim coat of finishing plaster or drywall compound, but they can also be successfully installed in wood panelling and other surface materials. Walls and ceilings are then painted or wallpapered to taste. They’re well suited to providing background music in public spaces. Mandarin Oriental hotels has done just that (pictured). The hotel chain recently adopted Amina Invisible Loudspeakers within the veneered wooden ceiling in the Mandarin Grille restaurant in Kuala Lumpur. Canohm: 1800 636 026 or


The Florida Beach Bar at the Crowne Plaza Terrigal has been recently renovated, incorporating what was the nightclub next door. The new venue’s interior design is now made up of eight zones that require different speaker types to suit each. The JBL Contractor speaker series was selected by AVents Solutions, which did the design and install work, also spec’ing BSS audio processing including London BLU-100 12x8 DSP and BSS BLU-BOB2 to expand outputs by an additional eight channels to build a 12x16 audio processor solution using two BSS BLU8V2 local remote controls at bar locations for easy access. Jands (JBL, BSS): (02) 9582 0909 or

Jbn TurnKey Solution


Melbourne’s Key Club is new in Melbourne. The venue is divided into three distinct areas: two bars and an indoor garden room named The Looking Glass room. Jbn Sound Solutions in conjunction with Pulse Audio Visual provided the complete audio and lighting fitout. The brief was to transform the old Loft venue into an elegant, sophisticated and stylish joint while keeping the external noise to a minimum. Over the main dance floor area Jbn Sound Solutions installed a 160-panel (1440-speaker) Jbn Sound Ceiling speaker system that operates at a level of 115 – 120dB. Wander only three metres away from the dancefloor to the bar and remarkably the audio drops to 105dB. “The Jbn Sound Ceiling has been really good, offering lots of control and scope,” commented Tony Pan, director of the club. “We have had zero problems with it and no complaints from the hotel next door or from the people downstairs.” Jbn: (03) 9379 0899 or Pulse Audio Visual: (03) 9471 3436 or

Radius Comes Full Circle


Symetrix’s new Radius 12x8 is a Dante-networkable, fixed I/O, open-architecture digital signal processor. Radius may be installed as a standalone processor or used in conjunction with SymNet Edge or third-party Dante network-enabled devices to achieve the scalability and flexibility needed to meet the specifications of the simplest to the most complex installations. Too many features to mention here — well worth further investigation. Production Audio Video Technology: (03) 6264 8000 or

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Italian Nordic


David’s Poetic Statement


Zilio Aldo & C. is a historic company from Italy’s Manzano district where they have been producing high quality timber furniture for more than 60 years. With clean and essential lines, the collection is reminiscent of Nordic style and design. The quality is the result of a careful selection of materials, professional experience and the ambition to create something unique which will not lose its value over time.

David’s of Prahran is open again — and there was much rejoicing. The Hecker Guthrie interior reflects David’s new informal approach — it’s like walking into a contemporary warehouse or loft, but with dining nooks, rustic chairs and tables. Speaking of which you’ve got to love the H-Poem chairs. The Owen ‘carver’ style timber chairs and the simpler Alice slatted wood chairs really help set the tone.

Cafe Culture: (02) 9699 8577 or

H-Poem: (02) 9557 6821 or Hecker Guthrie: (03) 9421 1644 or

Ventura Dining


Enveloping, fluid and sensual shapes underpinned by upholstered comfort and refinement, the lightness of Ventura is is highlighted by its slim wooden structure. Designed by Jean-Marie Massaud. Priced from $3970. Poliform: (02) 9339 7570 or

Something Fishy


Full of personality, be prepared to be entertained on a grand Scale. Stackable, lightweight, UV stable and 100% recyclable, Scale is suitable for outdoor use. Polyethylene construction has been employed for superior strength, while the rotational moulding process ensures that the colour penetrates 100% of the polyethylene. There are 10 standard colours available: White, Black, Red, Orange, Grey, Light Green, Green, Light Blue, Blue, and Yellow. A large range of non standard colours are also available upon request. Price: $188. Chairbiz: 1300 888 434 or


Mantra on the March


Mantra on Kent Sydney has unveiled its $1.5m hotel refurbishment which includes a floor-to-ceiling transformation of its 105 guest rooms, restaurant, meeting facilities, lobby and more. The hotel’s studios and spacious one and two-bedroom apartments have received a major makeover which includes stylish new furniture, wide screen televisions, revamped laundries, new carpet and a fresh coat of paint to complement the upgrades. Mantra on Kent’s makeover is part of Mantra’s ongoing commitment to enhance its CBD hotels. A $20m investment in refurbishments across Mantra’s 21 CBD properties commenced in July 2011 and is part of a two-year investment to upgrade city hotel product.  To date, this includes a $7m refurbishment across Melbourne properties Mantra on the Park, Mantra 100 Exhibition, Mantra on Russell and Mantra on Little Bourke; Brisbane’s Mantra on Queen; Mantra on the Esplanade in Darwin; and fellow Sydney hotel Mantra Parramatta. “Our city hotels are predominantly frequented by business travellers who will benefit from the refreshed product now on offer but leisure travellers visiting for city events will also enjoy the new look hotels,” said Mantra Group CEO Bob East. Mantra: 



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Time for Kairos


The Kairos “captures the fleeting sentiment of wonder suspended in a moment” — not bad going for a nice pendant. Kairos pays tribute to its namesake, ie. a Greek concept of time. Fibre-reinforced polymer is shaped into a hollow orb with an organic surface texture. The lamp casts a fascinating blend of lights and shadows, creating a momentarily ethereal ambience in any setting utilising the RGB LED lamping. Made by Hive and designed by Kenneth Cobonpue, Kairos is available in 30cm, 50cm and 80cm diameters.

Nimbus Modul R


The Nimbus Round luminaire range is a sustainable and realistic LED lighting solution. The Modul R discs range in sizes from 110mm, up to 1120mm wide. The larger discs are ideal for suspended mounting over large desks and spaces, creating an elegant canopy of light.


Koda Lighting: (02) 9699 6007 or

Ke-Zu: 1300 724 174 or

Liv LED Overload


Talk about wow factor. Will you take a look at the latest from Surfers: Liv Nightclub. The lighting was a result of a collaboration between Cree LED from the US, New Zealand’s stellarscape lighting controllers and German Madrix control software. Some 400sqm of LED is incorporated into the nightclubs walls and ceiling. An amazing 20km of cabling is used to make the LED, powered by 3km of power cables and controlled by 5km of network cabling. Liv: Lighting: &

Koura No Shrimp


David Trubridge is a Kiwi designer dedicated to environmental sustainability and the conservation of wildlife. The Koura Lamp is from one of Trubridge’s kitset collections and was designed to replicate the shape of small fresh water shrimps. The criss-cross pattern of the lamp mirrors the woven traps used for catching the shrimps. Koura is available both with a halogen and LED option. RRP is $420. Mondo Luce: (03) 9826 2232 or

Simple LED Control


Jands has created a console designed specifically for LED fixtures. The Stage CL provides 12 direct fixture control channels, powerful yet simple storing and a touchscreen interface, all packaged in compact and elegant chassis you can carry in one hand. CEO Paul Mulholland said “LED fixtures are rapidly becoming popular as a cost-effective and flexible lighting solution, but until now there hasn’t been a console that gives you simple direct control of their colour and intensity.” Designed with smaller venues and operators in mind, the Stage CL is ideal for rental applications, audio-visual suppliers, clubs and other venues, karaoke bars, retail spaces and houses of worship. Jands: (02) 9582 0909 or

The GH Hotel Tools Up


Prominent St Kilda live music and performance venue, The GH Hotel, has taken delivery of 12 Robe DLX Spot moving lights, which have been added to the lighting rig in the main room. These were specified by Technical Manager Jason Rooney, and join 16 existing Robe ColorSpot 250E AT moving lights. The idea is the GH Hotel can offer the best quality technology and production values for all its shows, and minimises the need for visiting artists and performers to bring their own production equipment. The GH is open five nights a week offering a lively schedule of entertainment. Once Jason and the technical team at the GH saw the DLX’s in action they knew that these were the right moving lights for the venue. “We wanted a TV-friendly moving light around the stage that had real power and punch for the reds, blues and deeper saturates — the DLX is a huge step forward and the output is incredible,” he states. Jason handles lighting design and production for all GH’s events, and operates many of the shows himself, alternating with a colleague using their Chamsys lighting control system. He appreciates the smooth iris and speed of the DLX’s versatile 10–45° zoom, and uses both these features extensively in his shows, together with almost all of the other features offered by the units. He also likes the super-sharp gobo selection. The DLX’s are positioned all around the main stage area on ladders, above the upstage LED screen and on the FOH gantry — giving full coverage all around the room. Adding the DLXs and their impressive brightness to the rig has made it infinitely easier to light the stage action without having to reduce the brightness of the LED screen as the DLX output rivals the luminosity of the 6.5 mm pitch video surface! “Truthfully I can’t think of a single DLX feature that I don’t utilise,” Jason enthuses. “The output is fabulous, the power usage very excellent, they start up fast and there’s no waiting time while the lamp powers on/off, etc.”. ULA Group: 1300 852 476 or

Cowhide Interior

Bolon Schooling

Art Hide recently created its second stunning installation at high end restaurant the Sentinel Bar and Grill in Perth. The unique application of cowhide in an outside dining area transformed the space adding warmth and texture using natural hides in varying shades of colour. Sentinel’s first installation of a 20sqm natural cowhide interior wall hanging complemented and balanced the extensive use of jarrah inside the restaurant. Sentinel loved it so much they used the Art Hide piece as a visual centrepiece of the restaurant’s branding and commissioned the second piece.

NSW Department of Education and Communities Information Technology Directorate together with Kann Finch took the idea of ‘learning in any environment’ to create an original and unique flooring solution. The Botanic collection was used throughout Levels 10 and 11 which really helped emphasise the organic feel of the ‘park’ and the ‘treehouse’ which were the themes designed for these floors. DEC-ITD designed their own flooring pattern using the environmentally friendly triangle tiles available from Bolon. Andrews Group: (03) 9827 1311 or

Art Hide: 0458 785 361 or


commercial edge

Bathroom Imports

Supré’s Urban Fitout

Duravit Living Bathrooms has just released a new range of striking new hand basins designed for public or residential applications named Onto. This range won the IF (International Forum) product design award in Hannover for 2012. Onto has a range of floor-standing, pillar-shaped vanity units with a round wash bowl, for a freestanding effect. These can be acquired in Australia through Gro Agencies in Perth, which has been importing and distributing European and leading global brands in bathroom fittings for over 30 years into the Australian market.

Extensive 3D modelling was used in developing the design for this national retailer’s flagship store in Westfield Sydney. Achieving the correct creative aesthetic for the brand, combined with a highly functional retail space, required considerable planning. The urban-inspired design incorporates an imagined landscape, with a climbing frame, playhouse and skate ramp all forming part of the experience, while doubling as display fixtures. The Supré ‘pink’ is used throughout the store as an effective graphic highlight contrasting the industrial material palette. (Photo: Jason Busch)

Gro Agencies: (08) 9446 3288 or

Andrew Waller (Architect): 0422 992 676 or

Australian Design Secures iPad Australian designers Studio Proper have unveiled the most secure enclosure for the Apple iPad, the Wallee Lock. Until now, the iPad has been limited from use in consumer facing hospitality, retail, and small business uses, due to its ease of theft. Using the Wallee Lock, businesses can confidently use their iPads in any public environment. The Lock works in conjunction with the Wallee Case and Wall Mount Disk, sold separately. Available in black or white. Price: $89.95 The Wallee Lock:


READY XS WIRELESS is your entry to the wireless world. No matter if you are a speaker, singer or musician – these wireless all-in-one packages provide you with reliable transmission and excellent sound quality. Featuring: • True dual diversity antenna system • 960 frequencies tuneable in 25kHz steps • 8 frequency bands with 12 factory presets Viteo Semi Industrial One of the latest looks in bathrooms has been heavily influenced by the GFC according to some. Whatever the reason, the return to a semi-industrial look with strong lines, clean colour and a hint of timeless, vintage aesthetics hits the sweet spot. Typical of the look is the use of subway tiles, low-profile basin, wall-mounted tap fittings and built-in bath. The entire fitout supports the theory that a busy bathroom should, above all, be practical and bare the brunt of high traffic while maintaining its original good looks. Kohler’s new collection of pin lever tapware — Viteo — perfectly fits this genre. Comprising wall mounted basin and bath sets plus basin mounted single lever mixer tap, the range features strong, clean lines with elegant pin lever mixer handle. There are also matching shower and bath mixers with and without diverter. The entire range is finished in Kohler’s renowned polished chrome — including escutcheons (back plate) for wall mounted fittings — noted for its resistance to both tarnishing and corrosion. Kohler: 1800 228 476 or

• automatic free frequency search • wireless frequency transmitter synchronisation • Award winning Sennheiser capsule technology For more information: Syntec International Australia: Free Call 1800 648 628



BY Architects


Cox Richardson Bar Icon Group Goodwin Design AMX Australia 5 Commercial Drive Enhanced Business Solutions Group GSA Southport Qld 4215 (07) 5531 3103 JamFactory J Audio Jackson Clement Burrows Supply and Design Professional Audio Systems Kennards KP Architects (07) 5599 1551 Mezzanine Wine Luchetti Krelle PILA Group Acoustica Marchese Raypak Advance Audio Australia Make Australian Venue Services Pty Ltd Technogym Atlas Sales & Marketing 5 Saywell Street, Marrickville, Nicholas Associates NSW 2204 Audio Product Group 1300 66 31 66 Peckvonhartel AMMENITIES Bishop Audio Dyson Pikewithers Electric Factory Jet Dryer SixDegrees Architecture Funktion One AV System Consultancy & Design Tradelink Theatre Planning & System Design SJB Group Technologies Architectural Lighting Design RBA Group NSW: (02) 9029 0281 Squillace Architects+Interior Design Hills SVL QLD: (07) 3367 2234 Stanton Creative Group ARCHITECTS Jands Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects JB commercial McGlashan Everist Len Wallis Audio Webb Australia Magna Systems 2RKS Architecture + Design Woodhead 2 Winslow Street Max Home JVG Sound Milsons Point, NSW 2061 Leaders in AV, Lighting, Hire, T: (02) 8904 0000 Production, Security and MATV McCalls F: (02) 8904 0411 NSW, QLD, NT, VIC, TAS AUDIO EQUIPMENT 1300 584 584 Meyer sound (07) 5599 1222 Music Link Audio Logistics National Audio Systems Altis Australian Distributors for: Lower Deck Jones Bay Wharf AVICO Void Acoustics, Audac, Procab, Suite 123 / 26-32 Pirrama Road Night Works Audio Posh Speakers, Decous & AVM Pyrmont NSW 2009 Avocent Australia 1300 859 341 T: (02) 2 9364 9000 One Productions F: (02) 2 9571 7930 Axiom Pioneer Beyond AV Production Audio Services BE Productions Syntec International BERGSTROM ARCHITECTS Suite 103, 3 Eden Street, North CMI Music & Audio Bose Australia Sydney NSW 2060 TAG T: (03) 9315 2244 T: (02) 8920 1499 F: (03) 9315 2115 F: (02) 8920 1599 BOSCH Yamaha 36-38 Export Dve, Brooklyn, Victoria, 3012 Canohm Arkhefield Castel Electronics Axil Architecture Clipsal Baenzigercoles

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V Screen Indoor/Outdoor LED Screens (07) 5599 1551 Aquavision

TM DESIGN GROUP PTY LTD DESIGNERS TO THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY Studio 5, 11 Beach Street Port Melbourne, VIC 3207 Ian Macklin (Director) 03 9646 9932 0417 147 110


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FURNITURE B Seated Australia Leading Supplier & Manufacturer of Commercial Furniture. 7/22 Mavis St , Revesby, NSW 2212 1300 727 637

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CAFE CULTURE AUSTRALIA 1/1-25 Adelaide Street Surry Hills NSW 2010 Australia (02) 9699 8577

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The Rug Collection

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Classic Floorcoverings Finest international, local and custom-made tiles for the commercial, hospitality & corporate market. 182-186 Parramatta Road, Camperdown NSW 2050 (02) 9550 5204

The Andrews Group

The Seatery Custom Upholstery Specialist Factory 3, 24 Longstaff Road Bayswater Vic 3153 (03) 9720 0042

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Contempo Furniture Pty Ltd Design and Manufacturing of Commercial Furniture and Lighting, specialising in unique metal finishes; Metal Spinners and Sheet Metal Fabricators (02) 9726 6794

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Climate Australia Specialists in Outdoor Temperature Solutions Unit 6, Enterprise Industrial Estate 8 Tilley Lane Frenchs Forest NSW 2086

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J Lighting Architectural/LED/ Stage Lighting (07) 5599 1551 Balanced Technology Coemar De Sisti Australia Display Design ECC Element Labs Euroluce Haron Robson Illumanon

OX Engineering Group Pty Ltd Specialists in architectural metalwork,displays,metal fabrication and Signage 23 Britton St Smithfield NSW 2164 (02) 9616 7444 INTERIORS

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Di Emme Creative Solutions Chiaro Screens - MetaFinish MetaFlex - Stonini Unit 3, 87-89 Moore Street Leichhardt NSW 2040 (02) 9550 0811 Crown Doors International Ke-Zu Silent GlIss Smartstone

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Studio Italia



Mexico City Photos by Pal Rivera (courtesy of Rojkind Arquitectos)


Next time you're in Mexico City, 'going out for Japanese' could be like going to another world — Tori-Tori is Japanese meets something else entirely. After the almost concussive shock of meeting the exterior, you'll find yourself in a terrace, where eating and drinking is embraced by a vertical garden. The facade, which seems to emerge from the ground climbing up through the building like ivy, is made up of two self-supporting layers of steel plates cut with a CNC machine and handcrafted to exact specifications. The facade's pattern responds to the inside openings, filtering light, shadows, and views that will constantly invade the interior spaces. Tori-Tori was designed by Rojkind Architectos, Michel Rojkind and Gerardo Salinas, in collaboration with Hector Esrawe of Esraw Studio.



Quad 12-in woofers; high-output mid/high compression driver


15-in woofer; high-output mid/high compression driver


12-in woofer with coaxial high frequency compression driver


8-in woofer with coaxial high frequency compression driver


Dual 12-in sub bass cones, horn-loaded; 21-in direct radiating sub bass cone, vented Production Audio Services (New Zealand) P. +64 (0) 9272 8041 EAW_New_Avalon_Venue_225x285mm.indd 1

Production Audio Video Technology Pty. Ltd P. (03) 9264 8000 8/29/12 7:40 AM

we are family

be a part of our family over 60 products across 13 series of projectors, panels and touch screens

Venue #51  

Issue 51 – the Retail Special – features Topshop, Converse Stor, Quiksilver an interview with Interbrand and much more.

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