Ostensibly Redfern’s local Chinese restaurant, Redbird is the new offering in this trendy and food-filled corner of Sydney. It’s a sumptuous interior design job that makes this hospitality venue all the more tempting.
June 21st, 2023
There is one consistent element in Luchetti Krelle’s portfolio — an ability to suggest a culinary tone without wallowing in formulaic touchpoints. Rather, the design house looks at a project’s potential, layers in nuanced references and ultimately creates a new design take on whatever culinary delight they are embracing. That said, when they do introduce a cliché, it is apparent that tongue is firmly in cheek.
If you haven’t been to Redfern in a while, the whole mood has changed with a thriving restaurant hub right on Redfern Street. For Redbird, the designers took on a legacy of elements that didn’t quite work. These included a crazy paved floor with contrasting grout, a semi-open kitchen and a black tiled exterior.
True to form Luchetti Krelle embraced these ugly ducklings and transformed them swan-like into integrated and astonishing design elements — and all on a tight budget. The pavers, for example, are now a primary feature that runs below fine legged SIA and Bentwood chairs, and crisp edged detailing. “Balancing the dominating floor, we stripped the white walls to reveal raw brickwork, adding a textural layer of speckled five spice tones,” says Stuart Krelle. “Vintage carpets unstitch the severity of the internal paving.”
Extrapolating this further a fine grey pebble Fibonacci terrazzo (with aged steel trim) has been used for some table tops, while expanses of brown marble have been introduced to the bar. With the wall stripped of cladding, unruly electricals were visible and simplified: “We embraced an industrial approach, utilising vertical steel electrical casings, in turn adding a sculptural touch,” says Krelle.
The exterior tiles have similarly been embraced with signage on the black facade elegantly proclaiming ‘REDBIRD’ in brass lettering, while a glowing orange Jonny Niesche painting placed on the far interior wall acts as a glowing beacon when viewed from the street.
Related: Jane by Luchetti Krelle
With chef, Hamish Ingham, and partner, Rebecca Lines, taking a contemporary slant at traditional Chinese fare, the menu ranges from tapas-style bar servings to feast-like arrays. As such, the space has been arranged for small and large groups as well as bar dining.
While reusing as much as possible, including the upscaling of existing built in banquettes, a combination of fine and robust furniture has been placed to demark space and direct flow: “Twin solid custom circular American oak tables add a weighty permanence at opposing ends of the room, with Lazy Susans crafted from lava-like stone adding an elevated spin,” says Krelle. It brings us to the fun inclusion of Lazy Susans not seen in contemporary Chinese restaurants since the eighties, but now making a comeback as a nod to era specific design.
The restaurant is a simple delight of considered detailing, such as sustainable cork joinery lining the bar stained a darker tone to compliment the timber, but far more sound absorbing. The ceiling too has acoustic properties thanks to a coat of nubbly natural fibre spray. It is, however, the fat oak tables and fine orange detailing that rocket this little slice of Redfern into the stratosphere! Oh, and the food is absolutely to die for, which is perhaps why the Lazy Susans, last seen when visiting the local Chinese in pyjamas was the norm, are such a hit.
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