Projects

22/06/2020

Glorietta, Sydney: a sustainable Italian inspired restaurant

The transformation of a stark, voluminous, glass box within a new landmark tower to a warm 220 seat regional Italian inspired restaurant. A project by Alexander &CO

Inspired by the client’s love of all things Italian, Glorietta is a bar and 220-seat restaurant designed to shape a corporate precinct into a Eurocentric agricultural memory. Glorietta involved the challenging transformation of a stark, voluminous, glass box within a new landmark tower; void of history and restricted by poor street visibility.

As the podium tenant, Glorietta presented various key constraints. A cold and commercial character, including an open ceiling to allow for the base build utilities to remain effective and compliant. These obstacles made our teamwork to craft a sense of identity, intimacy, and warmth. 

Brief, Design Solution and Challenges

The owner had ambitious plans for a new Italian inspired Sydney restaurant and bar: it must be a catalyst for change, inspiring hospitality offerings into a corporate area previously lacking any. Contemporary yet classic, it must be a ‘come for a drink, stay for a meal kinda place’ and create a warm agricultural ancestry and tone, all within the building's pre-established constraints.

The client was keen to deconstruct the vast, open, and commercial space into separate, more intimate zones to encourage various functionalities and dining options. A key challenge presented itself in the form of the space being void of any existing character; to counterbalance this, zoning was achieved by applying a range of floor treatments to contain each space. 

From polished concrete around the bar and northern dining areas to timber boards in the central dining space and concrete slabs surrounding the kitchen, each variation in materials helped to distinguish the separate zones - as well as build personality and interest. The large scale, volume, view, and elevated floor area also became advantages to creating theatre and spatial uniqueness throughout the venue.

In support of this, the clever use of five different seating options further established each zone. From the high timber tables and stools at the bar, long communal tables and the built-in olive-green leather banquettes, rust-red-toned tables, and individual bentwood chairs. Varied seating options offer intimacy and choice depending on patrons dining and drinking needs.

​A visible, traditional pizza oven and open kitchen capture the energy of a classic Italian restaurant and the theatrics that accompany this. A dining counter and bar ribbon the entry - which not only frames the entry but adds to the atmosphere and visual intrigue. A central bar was strategically positioned for maximum street visibility ​and to contain the venue’s footprint, scale, and proportion. 

Sustainability and materials

An earthy, organic, and warm palette was achieved via the careful selection of contemporary, yet durable, furnishings and fittings. Tonally gentle design elements soften the space. Recycled timber, olive​ and apricot leathers and tiling, rust-red tables, brass, creams, and wheat-colored​ linen curtains encircle the venue, while a vaulted rattan ‘cloudscape’ obscures the impact of the silver ceiling panels and offers yet another layer of warmth and natural texture to the space.

Glorietta’s narrative is one of soft agricultural nostalgia which seamlessly enhances the otherwise hard-edged commercial volume. The innovative transformation of Glorietta from an amorphous commercial venue, into an intimate restaurant now appeals to the afternoon spritz seekers, late-night dinners, and the casual pizza crowd. 

Sustainability played an important role too, materials were kept to a minimum, all-natural, designed for longevity, and sustainably harvested where possible. An ingenious, vaulted ‘cloud sky’ of woven rattan covers the majority of the ceiling, providing additional warmth and organic shape while enclosing the whole restaurant by lowering the room-scale and warming the lighting. Rattan is one of the fastest renewable tropical woods available and is manufactured in low-tech non-polluting facilities. 

Within Glorietta, beauty and sustainability collide with the salvaging and application of materials. Reclaimed hardwoods feature as bar cladding, with old stone slabs salvaged by the builder used as kitchen surround flooring. In a final, decorative flourish, a round Art Deco-inspired family table with sentimental value was inserted as a corner feature.