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    Pihlmann Architects creates sleek brewery in former Copenhagen slaughterhouse

    Bulbous steel tanks hang from where carcasses used to be suspended at the ÅBEN brewery in Copenhagen, which local studio Pihlmann Architects transformed from a slaughterhouse into a restaurant and bar.

    Located in Copenhagen’s Meatpacking District, the brewery is housed in a 1932 butchery that has been used for various commercial activities since the early 1990s.
    Visitors enter ÅBEN through the building’s original blue-rimmed doorsPihlmann Architects maintained and restored many of the slaughterhouse’s original features as part of the renovation for Danish beer company ÅBEN.
    “Turning the space back into a food production facility, with all the pragmatic measures we had to keep in mind, generated our ideas from the very beginning,” studio founder Søren Pihlmann told Dezeen. “Bringing back the authentic character of the space was key.”
    Conical steel fermentation vessels were suspended where carcasses used to hangArranged across one open-plan level, the brewery features the original gridded rail system from which 980 carcasses used to hang when the space was a slaughterhouse.

    Pihlmann Architects replaced the carcasses with conical fermentation tanks that are reached via a low-hanging galvanised steel walkway – also suspended from the listed building’s original sawtooth roof.
    Pihlmann Architects was led by the building’s industrial historyGeometric clusters of white wall tiles that have been preserved since the 1930s were also kept in place, echoing the brewery’s original purpose.
    “Bringing the key elements back to a worthy condition was more of a task than deciding on which [elements] to keep,” noted Pihlmann.
    Semitransparent curtains divide spaces and control acousticsSpaces are delineated by slaughterhouse-style semitransparent curtains, which cloak various dining areas that are positioned around the restaurant’s central open kitchen where visitors can experience the brewing process up close.
    Furniture was kept simple and “unfussy” in order to emphasise the restaurant’s industrial elements, including angular chairs and bar stools finished in aluminium and wood.
    “The [material and colour] palettes are true to function on the one hand and [true to] history on the other,” said Pihlmann.

    Crimson red flooring runs throughout the brewery, which was in place when the building was purchased. It was maintained to add warmth to the otherwise clinical interiors.
    At night, the restaurant’s electric light absorbs this colour and reflects from the fermentation tanks, creating a more intimate environment.
    A central open kitchen is flanked by bar stoolsMaking the food production processes visible was at the core of the design concept, according to the architecture studio.
    “It’s not only about the preparation of the food, it’s more about the brewing taking place,” continued Pihlmann.
    “The space which produces thousands of litres every day is open for everyone to step into, and actually see how and where the product they consume is produced.”

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    “Today, we are so detached from what we consume, we just go to the supermarket and pick it up from the cold counter having no clue where it’s coming from,” he added.
    “I’m not that naive to think that ÅBEN alone will change anything, but I’m convinced that it’s important to change this detachment.”
    The slaughterhouse’s original white tiles were preservedPihlmann described his favourite aspect of the project as “how the elements we’ve added both submit to and utilise the existing space, not just visually but also through their structural function”.
    “The building is built to carry a huge load,” he reflected. “Back then, it was tonnes of dead meat. Today, it’s enormous serving tanks from the ceiling.”
    Founded in 2021, Pihlmann Architects was included in our list of 15 up-and-coming Copenhagen architecture studios compiled to mark the city being named UNESCO-UIA World Capital of Architecture for 2023.
    Previous slaughterhouse conversions include a training school for chefs in Spain that was once used to butcher meat and a cultural centre in Portugal that is currently being developed by Kengo Kuma and OODA.
    The photography is by Hampus Berndtson.

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    Jialun Xiong balances contrasts at “retro-futurist” restaurant in Los Angeles

    LA-based furniture designer Jialun Xiong has completed her first restaurant interior in the city for 19 Town, achieving a retro-futurist look by pairing soft hues and metallic surfaces.

    Serving Chinese fusion food, the 19 Town restaurant is located in an industrial area close to Downtown LA.
    Upon entry to 19 Town, diners are met at a stainless steel and Formica counterThe name is a play on words from a phrase in Mandarin, signifying a venue that has food and wine according to Xiong, who is originally from Chongqing.
    She used a variety of materials and her own furniture designs to give the space a sense of “lavish restraint”, through the combination of minimal forms and rich details.
    Designer Jialun Xiong aimed to create “high-drama interiors” through the use of contrasting materials”Crafted with rigorously minimal forms balanced by rich materials like Venetian plaster, silver, and leather, the restaurant’s high-drama interiors create an elevated dining experience where connection around food takes centre stage,” said a statement on behalf of Xiong.

    The 4,200-square-foot (390-square-metre) restaurant is divided into five areas, which include the main dining space, a bar and lounge, and three private rooms.
    Glass block partitions define the spacesEach space is designed with its own identity, including the entry, featuring a custom brushed stainless steel and Formica reception desk.
    Behind, the wall is covered in Venetian plaster and plywood cabinets offer storage, while a series of circular Vibia pendant lights hang above.
    Xiong used multiple pieces from her Building Blocks collection to furnish the restaurantGlass block partitions define the perimeter of the main dining area, comprising a central seating area with round tables, and custom banquettes made from brushed stainless, green leather and vinyl.
    “Overlooking an open kitchen, the main dining space evokes an aura of retro-futurism,” said the team.
    The main dining room features custom stainless steel banquettesThe lounge is located on one side and the screened bar is situated on the other – both continuing the same design language as the central room, but with their own twist.
    Xiong used multiple pieces from her Building Blocks collection to furnish these spaces, such as a silver powder-coated metal bench with off-white leather upholstered seats.

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    Other items also combine industrial and natural materials, creating a balance between soft and hard, shiny and matte, and heavy and light.
    A variety of lighting designs with disc-shaped elements are installed throughout, adding to the retro-futurist appearance.
    The restaurant has three private dining rooms, all with a restrained aestheticThe private dining spaces are decorated using a monochromatic palette and a restrained approach, with green providing a subtle injection of muted colour.
    The overall result is a series of “balanced spaces where furnishings, lighting, and spatial volumes are considered together as a total composition”.
    The bar also features custom furnishingsMinimalism has become an increasingly popular style choice for Chinese restaurants, both in China and around the globe.
    Others include a hotpot restaurant with thick stucco walls in Qinhuangdao, a muted monochrome space in Ontario, and an eatery featuring stainless steel, brass and polycarbonate in Manhattan.
    The photography is by Ye Rin Mok.

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    Space Copenhagen pays homage to historic features in Mammertsberg renovation

    A sculptural spiral staircase, floor-to-ceiling windows and panelled walls have been paired with contemporary furnishings in Space Copenhagen’s renovation of a restaurant and hotel in Switzerland.

    Called Mammertsberg, the combined hotel and restaurant is housed within a 1911 villa that overlooks the Alps mountain range in Freidorf, Switzerland.
    Top: a spiral staircase takes centre stage in Mammertsberg. Above: Space Copenhagen has renovated the Swiss hotel and restaurantDanish design studio Space Copenhagen focused on the restaurant and lounge, which were totally refurbished to transform the interior from its previous status as a Swiss-food restaurant.
    Meanwhile, the adjacent six hotel guest rooms were given a light refresh.
    Contemporary furniture was added to the lounge”We embraced the idea of keeping key historic, listed, and structural features, defining for the building and its architectural heritage,” Space Copenhagen told Dezeen.

    “For the transformation towards something new, it felt important to add a diverse mix of furniture, lighting, materials, art and books, all of which could have been collected slowly over time,” the studio added.
    Linen curtains frame the large windowsDue to the building’s historic status, Space Copenhagen faced certain refurbishment restrictions, which resulted in the studio adapting its design around existing features within the property.
    These included a large central staircase by architect Tilla Theus that connects the restaurant on the ground floor to the bar and lounge on the first floor.
    Natural materials were used throughout the interiorIn the 42-seat fine-dining restaurant, which serves up locally sourced dishes, the studio embraced the high ceilings and large windows by adding floor-to-ceiling curtains in tactile, heavy linen.
    “The building overlooks the impressive landscape and alpine scenery that characterises Switzerland and this inspired our design choices and approach,” said Space Copenhagen.
    “It felt natural to treat the house as a large country home from which to enjoy the surrounding nature; offering guests the opportunity to contemplate and recharge.”
    The restaurant has a walnut and linen colour paletteThe surrounding nature was referenced in the material and colour choices, with solid oak tables in varying shapes and sizes dotted throughout the restaurant and lounge.
    Elsewhere in the Mammertsberg restaurant, Scandinavian chairs were upholstered in subdued colour tones such as walnut and light linen, while petrol blue leather was added for contrast.

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    “We wanted to create a warm and inviting scene to balance the vibrant dishes while simultaneously seeking a high level of detailing, quality, and refinement in the curation of materials and furniture pieces,” explained Space Copenhagen.
    “We worked with a new approach to solve the layout for the restaurant. Being a small restaurant allowed us to create a sense of familiarity with a variety of different tables – round, square and longer styles – all with different configurations and possibilities.”
    Six guest rooms were given a light refreshThe project also involved updating Mammertsberg’s guest rooms. Each of the six rooms was individually decorated to feel like someone’s private residence, with sculptural lighting and soft furniture to encourage rest and relaxation.
    According to the designers, the limited time frame meant that finer details such as adding new finishes were prioritised over a larger overhaul.
    Each hotel suite is individually furnished”We couldn’t change the polished stone floors in certain public areas such as the restrooms, bathrooms and guestrooms,” Space Copenhagen said.
    “We solved this by applying a different finish which honed them as much as possible towards a more matt and subdued hue, settling into the overall colour and material palette.”
    Space Copenhagen was established in Denmark in 2005 and is best known for its restaurant interior design projects.
    Among them is the Blueness restaurant in Antwerp, which is decorated with bespoke furnishings and Le Pristine, a restaurant that the company renovated with a moody aesthetic.
    The photography is by Joachim Wichmann.

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    Gin Design Group completes jewel-toned restaurant The Lymbar in Houston

    Houston-based Gin Design Group has combined various mid-century references at a local restaurant, which celebrates its chef’s family history and is “a tribute to all grandmothers”.

    Located at The Ion business centre in Midtown Houston, The Lymbar’s design was heavily influenced by the upbringing of chef David Cordúa, whose menu is based on Latin-Mediterranean cuisine.
    The Lymbar’s bar features a mural by Carissa Marx influenced by the colours of the chef’s family homeThe 4,000-square-foot (370-square-metre) establishment is named after Lymbar Drive, the street where Cordúa’s grandparents settled in Houston from Nicaragua.
    It was designed by Gin Braverman of Gin Design Group, who was the chef’s childhood babysitter.
    Tones used for the plush furniture were taken from the bar mural”The Lymbar is my grandmother’s house,” Cordúa said. “The house stayed in our family, and it’s where we perfected our family’s hospitality.”

    “It’s a tribute to all grandmothers,” he added of the restaurant, which is intended to feel both elevated and cosy, achieved through warm lighting, deep red curtains and plush furnishings.
    Greenery is introduced by a life-like tree in the centre and globe-shaped planters above the bar”We wanted to capture the bustle of a hotel lobby, the polish of a private club and the hospitality of the Cordúa family in the design,” Braverman said.
    “Mixed with a confluence of Latin American, Lebanese and Mediterranean textures and art layered over a backdrop of classic mid-century materials such as warm woods, earthy colors and lush greenery.”
    The shelving above the banquette seating displays mementos from the chef’s childhoodThe colour palette for the interiors was drawn from the Cordúa family home.
    Orange, red and olive hues were used as a starting point for a mural painted on the front of the bar by local artist Carissa Marx.
    Artworks in the space in include a collage by Vernon Caldera, while the scalloped floor pattern was hand-painted by Carissa MarxInfluenced by the work of Brazilian modernist Roberto Burle Marx, no relation to Carissa, the mural then informed the tones chosen for the lounge-style furniture.
    Marx also hand-painted a black and white scalloped pattern across the concrete floor.
    Red velvet curtains and warm lighting evoke the appearance of a hotel lobbyOther nods to mid-century design in the restaurant include the shelving at the main bar, which was inspired by Gio Ponti’s Planchart Villa in Venezuela.
    The shelves display a collection of nostalgic objects and mementos from Cordúa’s childhood.

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    Greenery is introduced through a life-like tree that sits at the centre of the dining area and large globe-shaped planters above the bar created in collaboration with locally based Nicaraguan artist Vernon Caldera and The Flora Culture.
    Caldera also helped to curate The Lymbar’s art collection, and one of his collages hangs in the dining room.
    A private dining room is decorated entirely in a red-purple shadeThe restaurant’s open kitchen is framed by a concrete counter and faceted breeze blocks that incorporate lighting. There’s also a private dining room decorated entirely in a red-purple shade.
    Gin Design Group focuses on hospitality interiors primarily in the Houston area. The studio recently completed a barbershop in the Southside Place neighbourhood, which features a radial layout and a hidden cork-like bar.
    The open kitchen is framed by a concrete counter and faceted breeze blocks that incorporate lightingOther restaurants to open in the city over the past year include cosy Japanese spot Uchiko Houston and lively smokehouse Loro Heights – both designed by Michael Hsu.
    The photography is by Leonid Furmansky.

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    Traditional Hong Kong diners inform interior of Bao Express in Paris

    Design studio Atelieramo has completed a retro interior for a Chinese restaurant in Paris, featuring celadon-green walls and curvaceous wooden booths modelled on those found in Hong Kong diners from the 1970s.

    Architect Tala Gharagozlou and designer Virginie de Graveron oversaw the interior concept for Bao Express, a restaurant near Bastille in the 11th arrondissement that serves dim sum and bao buns.
    Bao Express is a Chinese restaurant in Paris. Top photo by Géraldine MartensHoused in a former button factory, the 500-square-metre space is divided into three areas: a bakery, a diner and a basement bar.
    Atelieramo set out to create a series of distinct yet connected spaces that evoke the architecture and pop culture of 1970s Hong Kong – in particular its greasy spoon cafes, locally known as cha chaan tengs.
    Diners can sit in the eatery’s cosy wood-lined booths”We reinterpreted snippets of that vibrant Hong Kong urban atmosphere with its coloured pavings, pastel colours, neon lights and dense mix of patterns and motifs,” said the studio.

    “The aim was not to create a decor but rather, with a playful nod to these references, create a new atmosphere distinct to Bao’s new space.”
    A larger skylit dining area is located in the rear. Photo by Géraldine MartensThe adaptation of the existing abandoned building involved significant alterations to the floor plates and structure, along with the addition of a new staircase and circulation.
    From the street, customers enter a small bakery and cafe serving sweet and savoury snacks to eat in or take away. What appears as a simple neighbourhood cafe conceals the presence of the larger dining areas, which are set back in the building’s plan.
    A new staircase leads down to the basement bar. Photo by Bérénice BonnotThe kitchens are visible from the street and guests walk past colourful crates of raw produce before passing through a metal curtain to reach the main Bao Express diner.
    The long dining space features cosy booths with sinuous wooden frames. The pastel-green walls are contrasted with bespoke bright-red sconces and simple mosaic panels that echo the materials of the central bar.

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    Towards the rear of the building is a larger dining area topped with an expansive skylight. This bright and airy space is filled with plants that create the feeling of dining in a winter garden.
    Exposed masonry walls painted in celadon-green form the basis for a playful colour palette featuring contrasting peach and pink elements as seen in the glossy tabletops.
    A hammered-metal artwork by SupaKitch decorates the ceiling in the barThe studio’s eclectic use of colour and pattern extends to the geometric tiled floors and punchy black-and-white stripes that are painted on the walls of the staircase leading down to the basement bar Underpool.
    This bar area features a hammered-metal ceiling installation by French artist SupaKitch, with a rippled surface that reflects the blue-green interior and creates the impression of looking up at an upside-down swimming pool.
    The artwork creates the impression of looking up at a swimming poolBao Express is part of a family of eateries in Paris owned by restaurateurs Céline Chung and Billy Pham. Atelieramo was responsible for designing several of the duo’s restaurants, each of which has a unique character inspired by different aspects of Chinese culture.
    Another eatery informed by traditional cha chaan tengs is The Astor restaurant in Hong Kong’s Eaton hotel, designed by New York studio AvroKO, which mixes elements of the city’s diners and street food stalls with nods to the arthouse films of Wong Kar-Wai.
    The photography is by Carole Cheung unless otherwise stated.

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    Hello Sunshine features “unlikely juxtaposition” of Japanese psychedelia and cabins

    A “psychedelic inverted cabin” provided Canadian studio Frank Architecture with the design narrative for this Japanese casual bar and restaurant in Banff, Alberta.

    Located in the mountains of Alberta, Hello Sunshine offers barbecue, sushi and karaoke in a retro-influenced space by Frank Architecture.
    Fireplaces sit at the centre of special tables at Hello SunshineThe team imagined an alternate reality, in which Japanese graphic designer Tadanori Yokoo ventured into the mountains and holed up in a cabin for years, and based the interiors on what the result might have been.
    “Taking cues from the unlikely juxtaposition of Japanese psychedelia meets spaghetti western meets mountain cabin, Hello Sunshine is bold, playful, and distinct,” said Frank Architecture, which has an office in Banff.
    The wood-panelled restaurant features a rounded bar at the backThe eatery is located in the middle of the town, which is a popular destination for tourists and winter sports enthusiasts and is laid out to offer a sense of discovery.

    “The spatial planning is intended to feel organic and meandering,” the team said. “Upon entry, the restaurant isn’t immediately visible but is slowly revealed as one moves through space.”
    Japanese elements like paper lanterns and textile artworks and paired with plaid curtains and plenty of woodThe restaurant occupies a tall open space lined almost entirely in wood, with the rounded bar located at the back and a variety of table seating options scattered around.
    Diners can choose between communal benches, four-tops, booths, bar stools, or sit at one of two special tables.
    Booth seating is lined up against angled, shingle-covered wallsThis pair of large circular counters both feature a raised fire pit at their centre, below fluid-shaped flues clad in glossy, glazed ceramic tiles.
    Japanese design staples like paper lanterns and ceiling-hung textile artworks are combined with mountain tropes such as plaid curtains, exposed stone and plenty of wood.

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    Blue corduroy fabric is used to cover banquettes, while the booth seating is tucked into a niche formed by angled walls covered with timber shingles.
    In the karaoke rooms tucked away at the back, patterned carpet, lava lamps and disco balls add colour and sparkle to the wood-panelled spaces.
    Karaoke rooms are enlivened by disco balls and lava lampsThere’s also a concealed tiny bar based on those crammed into the alleyways of Golden Gai in Shinjuku, Tokyo.
    “The result is a bold and encapsulating space that surprises and delights guests with unexpected moments and distinctive style,” said the team.
    A tiny concealed bar is based on those found in Golden Gai, ShinjukuThis isn’t Frank Architecture’s only Japanese restaurant – the studio also created an intimate setting for the Lonely Mouth noodle bar in its other home city of Calgary.
    For another spot in the Western Canada metropolis, the team drew inspiration from author Truman Capote to set a 1960s vibe at Major Tom on the 40th floor of a downtown skyscraper.
    The photography is by Chris Amat.

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    Studio8 transforms 1930s Hangzhou villa into hotpot restaurant

    Promotion: Chinese architecture practice Studio8 has renovated the interior of a 1930s villa in Hangzhou, China, transforming it into a hotpot restaurant and cocktail bar that celebrates the building’s history.

    The Gud restaurant and bar includes a roof terrace, dining space on the upper floors and bar on the ground floor.
    The 496-square-metre space occupies a three-storey building that was built in 1939, as well as a later-built extension and the ground floor of an adjacent property.
    Antique hotpots are displayed throughout the interiorAlthough the villa had previously undergone a number of renovations, when designing the restaurant Studio8 aimed to maintain the building’s original features, including the street-facing facade.
    Service areas, including the kitchen, restroom and staircase, are located in the extension and adjacent building, leaving the full space of the historic villa for restaurant dining and the cocktail bar.

    The cocktail bar features red velvet seatingThe Gud restaurant specialises in hotpots, which lead Studio8 to study the culture of the cuisine and introduce aspects of it into the interior design, creating a “museum-like experience”.
    The project’s design was informed by three stages of making and experiencing hotpots – the heat from the fire that cooks it, water as the main medium of the food, and the elevation of the flavour coming from the steam.
    Studio8 used the themes of “heat, medium and elevation of flavour” to influence the function, materials, textures and light used in each space.
    The restaurant interior was informed by hotpot cuisineThe cocktail bar on the ground floor of the historic villa was designed to be a lively space. It features a red floor, a fireplace, structural columns that display antique hotpots and red velvet sofas.
    Part of the original brick wall was left exposed and a recessed mirrored ceiling at the perimeter of the room makes the space feel larger and more luxurious.
    The interior nods to the building’s history”As the first element, heat is a fundamental design factor on the first floor, where human interactions were planned out accordingly,” said Studio8.
    “The aim was to create a warmer and more welcoming space at the beginning of the hotpot experience, where people and friends meet first, have a cocktail and wait for everyone to arrive.”
    The restaurant features glass-brick nichesOn the upper floor is the restaurant’s main dining area, which features glass-brick niches in the walls where windows used to be.
    At the sides of the dining area, Studio8 opened up the ceiling to expose the wooden roof structure.
    The third floor includes a private dining room”After passing through the heated cocktail bar, comes the second element, water – the medium that reunites all elements,” said Studio8.
    “Family and friends are seated together in groups around the round tables on the second floor for the food experience, a process that the architects relate to water reconstructing the atoms of the ingredients.”
    A roof terrace overlooks the cityThe building’s original timber staircase was removed and a new enclosed staircase that connects the three floor levels was added in the patio area.
    The staircase has double glazed U-shaped glass partitions along its floors with a “lighting system to represent the continuous energy flow transition”.
    A terrace and private dining room are located on the third floor of the villa.
    A new enclosed staircase that connects the three floor levels was added in the patio area.”Here, the customers are reconnected with the city and able to look at it from different heights and angles, corresponding to the last element, steam, the elevation of taste,” said Studio8.
    “The simply designed interior shows off the geometric shape of the attic, while benches on the roof allow customers to have a more exclusive interaction with the city.”
    The staircase has double glazed U-shaped glass partitions along its floorsStudio8 is currently working on a number of renovation projects that aim to respect the history of the building, including the transformation of hotels and restaurants.
    The photography is by Sven Zhang.
    Partnership content
    This article was written by Dezeen for Studio8 as part of a partnership. Find out more about Dezeen partnership content here.

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    Luchetti Krelle fashions playful interiors for RAFI restaurant in Sydney

    Vivid abstract paintings meet patterned floors and oversized lighting fixtures inside this restaurant in Sydney designed by local studio Luchetti Krelle.

    Celebrating the produce available on Sydney’s coastline, RAFI serves a seasonal array of seafood small plates. The restaurant’s name is an acronym for Raffaella, Aurora, Frankie and Indio – the children of owners Ben Carroll and Hamish Watts.
    Large paper lanterns dominate the interior of Sydney’s RAFI restaurantThe duo already run a number of successful dining venues across the city, all of which were designed by Luchetti Krelle.
    When called to devise the interiors for RAFI, the studio set out to create a scheme that would “ignite a child-like awe and wonder” in keeping with the restaurant’s name.
    Neon-orange cargo straps help to secure wine bottles in placeThis theme is picked up in a number of playful decor elements throughout the restaurant including a trio of huge paper lanterns and mosaic flooring.

    To one side of the dining area is an open kitchen, where a chunky red mantelpiece was built around the ovens.
    Chequered tiles give the interior a playful feelA drinks bar lies on the other side of the space, nestled beside a tall wine rack that uses neon-orange cargo straps to hold bottles in place.
    RAFI’s plan opens up to a couple of larger dining spaces – one covered in chequered tiles and another dressed with blue banquettes, colourful abstract paintings and woven-back chairs.

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    The latter features wooden parquetry flooring arranged in concentric squares. This pattern is replicated on a set of cork doors at the rear of the space, which can be slid back to reveal an intimate private dining room.
    This area is centred by a hexagonal wooden table and a branch-like chandelier with light-up “leaves”.
    Abstract art and a branch-like chandelier feature in the private dining roomBlack box-frame windows that previously appeared throughout the restaurant were swapped for slender galvanised-steel casings, which offer better views out to the terrace.
    Here, the studio has introduced outdoor seating and “Aperol-toned” sun umbrellas, as well as a greenhouse-style dining room called The Arbor.
    Loosely inspired by childhood camping trips, this space features fold-out chairs and a canopy formed of white camouflage netting.
    More dining space is offered in a greenhouse-style structureLuchetti Krelle was established in 2008 by Rachel Luchetti and Stuart Krelle, with headquarters in Sydney’s Surry Hills neighbourhood.
    The studio recently completed another eatery in the city called Jane, which occupies a former butcher shop. Its eclectic interior draws on everything from seventies decor to french bistros and indigenous flowers.
    The photography is by Steve Woodburn.

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