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Mediterranean Cronulla: Luchetti Krelle’s curvaceous coastal offering

Chalky cream curves, amorphous shapes, bulging bulkheads and sun-bleached shades of leather and timber define this Cronulla project.

Mediterranean Cronulla: Luchetti Krelle’s curvaceous coastal offering

This article originally appeared in INDESIGN #91 – find out more and subscribe!

Luchetti Krelle never disappoint, with a portfolio of hospitality projects that are always right at home in their locations. This current project in Cronulla in Sydney’s South, is effectively the seafood iteration of the earlier Hurricanes’ steak house, but the difference is pronounced. The coastal location is again evoked, but the sharp and spicy Mediterranean culinary offering is also referenced, with accents of nutmeg, paprika, olive greens and cumin.

Playing against expectations, there is also something of the Ottoman Empire with incredible raised reliefs depicting the elaborate internal outlines of temple entrances and portico arches. Shaping walls in relief and partial walls as sculpted forms, the exaggerated scale of the contours and shapes are accentuated with neutrally toned matte mosaic tiles of assorted tessellated patterns. Carrying this through to the private dining room, the rear wall has been lined with a felt acoustic panel in rich terracotta to depict interwoven arches. In this same room, suspended through a spliced ceiling, Luchetti Krelle collaborated with Studio Lehmann to create a cluster of ceramic pendants. Alternating in scale with uniquely contoured rims, the pendants are shell-like and charming.

Luchetti Krelle - Hurricane’s Grill & Bar

“Our client wanted patrons to feel like they were sitting in a seaside restaurant in Spain or Portugal. Responding to this, we sculpted a grotto-like setting coated in Ibiza Lime Plaster” says Rachel Luchetti, of the thickly applied plaster that absorbs light in rich, velvety swathes. The island bar is likewise luscious with a shimmering Tadelakt-finish (venetian plaster).  

Visually there is a consistent flow throughout the project with the curved bar, rounded returns and the snaking free-form of the banquettes that meld into service stations and ledges. Moreover, a parabolic arch slices into the curved rear wall of the offset oval-shaped private dining room accentuating this thematic trope.

Continuing the sinuous motif of curves, a horseshoe-shaped custom maître d’ concierge desk with a split face stone surface sits over a circular base of pearlescent quartz pebbles. The three-part pedestal of solid oak with dowel ripples, arches and chunky geometric shapes, custom-crafted by Hugh McCarthy, is fabulous. It also lends weight and sculptural presence to the whole. Riffing on these shapes and forms, the table surface shapes range from circles and squares – some with chamfered edges and others with one rounded end – to solid oak rectangles in the private dining room with triangular leg inserts exposed on the surface.

Related: A hot new restaurant in Auckland by WAM

The elliptical canopy of the bar is another exceptional feature with a large curving outer end and neatly stepped inside edges picked out in a clay pink finish. There is a slight deco feel to the steps which speaks well to local holiday architecture. Shelves and wall joins leverage the qualities of plaster for the greatest possible impact.

The large optical woven artwork by Tammy Kanat of hand-knotted Merino wool, silk and linen is sensationally good. Kanat is one of the new generation of textile artists making a name for herself through these bold celebrations of colour.

Luchetti Krelle - Hurricane’s Grill & Bar

Having inherited the legacy of a concrete shell with poured floors and industrial columns, only slight changes were made to the hard surfaces. For the most part these were to aid sound absorption and add textural interest. Diamond grinding the floor to expose its aggregate, for example, or lining the ceiling with nubby Envirospray while painting the exposed services a matching charcoal grey shade. A light lacquer was also added to the bases of the columns to bounce light about.

It is in fact a gorgeous iteration, with indoors and out blurred through material use that includes rich brown cork table surfaces and the warmth of copper satin steel and brass finishes. There is also a touch of fun with brick kickers (with their extruded holes filled with grout for visual interest) lining the bar’s surrounds, adding a practical foot ledge for those seated.

More on INDESIGN #91 ‘The Work (Place) and Play’ issue here

Luchetti Krelle

Tom Ferguson

Editorial Styling
Olga Lewis

Luchetti Krelle - Hurricane’s Grill & Bar
Luchetti Krelle - Hurricane’s Grill & Bar
Luchetti Krelle - Hurricane’s Grill & Bar

Next up: The Lyall by DKO

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