With the buzzing new culinary precinct of Barangaroo as its location, it’s no surprise that the clients asked for a ‘pub that looked like no other’. They wanted a design that would make Untied stand out from the crowd whilst also reflecting the sophistication of its contemporary Australian menu, without taking itself too seriously. In response, Sydney-based firm Technē Architecture + Interior Design turned to the lush rainforests of north Australia for inspiration.
“The clients were keen to create a mini oasis in the middle of the city. A getaway,” says project interior designer Kate Archibald. “Adorned with greenery, the space is meant to feel like a holiday; enticing you to think of cocktails on hot balmy nights. They wanted a space that people in the surrounding corporate towers would look down upon and think… come 5pm… I know where I’ll be.”
This of course came off the back of the original concept which “began with a space that would emanate a Palm Springs house party,” she notes, “like you’ve just walked into someone’s pool side lounge bar. This concept developed to incorporate more locally based ideas of lush open tropical spaces. The rainforests of Northern Australia became our reference point for their lush, overwhelming qualities.”
To achieve the tropical aesthetic and create a space that is at once sophisticated and approachable, where patrons can ‘kick-back and let loose’ away from the business of Barangaroo, the designers employed a rich array of materials and found clever ways to break up the space that worked for the entire vision. After first utilising the venue’s “most striking hallmark” – unfettered views to the harbour – with glazing that extends across the perimeter of the tenancy, Technē split the space into two zones: a slightly more casual outdoor bar and a refined dining space indoors. Rather than dividing the areas with any harsh partitions, the change is realised through variations in seating structure that creates a sense of flow and familiarity and is more akin to a home than formal restaurant.
“Wallpaper layered with tropical leaves creates a striking pattern throughout the bar and restaurant area. Dark green, pink and royal blue tones in the seating create punches of colour throughout the space; referencing the colours seen in tropical birds and flora up north. The main focus point, the bar and kitchen, maintains a residential feel with mirrors adorning the back-bar; referencing this Palm Springs party bar. The space is meant to feel familiar and somewhat homey.” says Archibald.
Maintaining the sophisticated but casual tone and subtly building on the tropical forest concept are a number of creative design features. The largely monochromatic palette that ties the space together is punctuated by sections of exuberant graphic wallpaper, which nod to the tropics without being too literal in its interpretation. In the dining area, timber floorboards, black marble mosaic and framed mirrors add a sense of moodiness and throughout, “an abundance of greenery echoes Queensland’s verdant natural landscape”.
While they had their challenges, Technē’s project-specific approach has resulted in a space that makes the most of the location and serves its purpose. With harbour views and inviting atmosphere, here is a “rooftop haven that accommodates a variety of patrons and provides respite from its urban surrounds.”