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Sokyo at The Star

Sydney meets Tokyo in a new design at The Star by Paul Kelly Design. Mandi Keighran has the story.

Sokyo at The Star


December 12th, 2011

Sydney’s Star City casino has recently been transformed into an entertainment and dining destination called The Star. As part of this metamorphosis, The Star is now home to a host of world-class restaurants, including two by Paul Kelly Design – BLACK by Ezard (covered in Indesign #48, on sale in February 2012) and Sokyo.

Sokyo is located at The Darling, the hotel adjacent to The Star, and is the latest offering from chef Chase Kojima of Nobu fame. Like the menu, the restaurant’s interior is a sophisticated fusion of Sydney and Tokyo.



“The design is inspired by the Japanese landscape and its integration into the contemporary landscape,” Kelly explains.

“There is a fusion between the natural formation of the mountains and the hyper Anime graphics of downtown Tokyo.”


Key to the transformation of The Star was the rebranding of the casino as more than a casino. Accordingly, the entry to Sokyo, like the majority of the new restaurants, completely avoids the gaming areas. And, the interiors are a far cry from the casino eateries of old.




“The dining experience was intended to be a fun, noise and music-filled environment where shared high quality Japanese was the flavour. The interior had to replicate this by using materials in a unique way, with quality detailing and lighting to back up the produce on offer,” says Kelly, who was given free reign on the design but “wanted something that would be a representation of Chase [Kojima] and his personality, youthful and vibrant.”

On the entry level is a bar, complete with DJ booth offering sophisticated, sexy sounds, and the main dining area. To the left of the entry is a long open kitchen, where chefs entertain diners with their skill in preparing sushi and other Japanese delights.


A ramp leads diners to a sunken lounge area, with views through curved glass out to the streetscape.

Throughout the interior, Paul Kelly Design have combined sleek finishes – such as the reflective finish to the exterior of the private dining room – with more crafted elements. These include the raw concrete walls, pale timber furniture and the most dramatic design feature in Sokyo, the suspended rope artwork.


The artwork, which was fabricated by Di Emme Creative Solutions, comprises over 2.5 kilometers of rope cut at over 800 various lengths suspended from 3,200 points in the ceiling. The result is a suspended landscape that creates a screen between the exterior and the restaurant that makes the dining experience intimate.

“The use of this material in this fashion has never been completed before,” Kelly enthuses. “It still needs some tweaking but when it gets there it will be magic!”

Paul Kelly Design

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