My favourite past time is of course sourcing my luxury furniture designs from around the globe, yet exploring furniture and frequenting design-savvy bars & restaurants seem to go hand-in-hand. Perhaps it's this combination of culinary and visual delights that has me booking my many overseas buying trips...
An essential pit stop for any traveller en route from Australia to any corner of the globe, Singapore bridges the East with the West. Ask any Singaporean what their favourite pastime is and I’m doubtful they wont respond with “dining”, so you know you’re in good hands when you’re looking for a delicious place to eat while staying in one of my favoured Asian cities. One establishment in particular that stands out in my eyes is Odette, located inside the newly refurbished Singapore National Art Gallery.
Walking in to the restaurant is a breath of fresh air from the humid Singaporean streets; pink terrazzo, natural timber, marble flooring, brass accents, light greys and creams adorn the fine-dining establishment to create a crisp and light-filled interior.
London-based design firm, Universal Design Studio, were the masterminds behind this delightful gem, which features glass-fronted kitchen doors that allow for the diners to view the talented chefs at work. A beautiful butterfly-inspired mobile, created by local artist Dawn Ng, creates visual interest in the centre of the restaurant emphasising the openness and scale of the space. Luscious green palms are dotted throughout Odette for a burst of colour – a bit of a palette-cleanser, if you will.
Incorporating this high-end aesthetic is easier than you think: merge the soft, gentle curves and refreshing powdery colour palette into your home with my Max Sparrow Scarborough Occasional Chair for a luxe appeal that doesn’t compromise on comfort. Like Odette, incorporate accents of brass or reflective gold into the space for a contemporary inspired edge. My Max Sparrow Los Angeles Gold Side Table with its striking Gold Bullion diamond facetted pedestal will shine against the soft pinks and greys – the perfect accompaniment to complete the space.
Antwerp, Belgium, is known by many around the world as boasting a collection of the most illustrious design and cuisine. With so many divine restaurants to choose from, hospitality design in this riverside city is at a level unlike any other. The Jane is just one high-end establishment that exemplifies Antwerp’s level of design…
Once a former military hospital chapel, The Jane exudes a classy blend of tradition with an added bit of rock and roll. Piet Boon’s studio worked closely with PSLab and Studio Job to ensure that many of the church’s main features were preserved. The ceiling’s peeling paintwork was unspoiled along with the original pottery tiled floors. One feature privy to a do-over was the original stained glass windows, which have been substituted for colourful contemporary images associated with good and evil, life and death, and food and religion – you’ll see a lot of devils, skulls and sunflowers, complementing and enhancing the rock and roll atmosphere.
The colour palette is a blend of hard and soft: black leather lounges and dining chairs contrast against soft blue-padded walls and the occasional soft ocean green tub-like chairs. This notion of hard vs. soft can also be seen in the various materials used throughout the space where natural stone, leather, and timber feature in all their glory – a prerequisite of Piet Boon Studio who aimed to work with pure, rich materials that would prove authentic, functional, as well as providing elements that age with beauty.
Hovering above the dining space is the stunning chandelier by PSLab. Extreme in its sheer scale as well as is its aesthetics, the lighting fixture boldly extends throughout the space in un-missable fashion. Over 150 lights splay out from the chandelier’s centre teetering on black metal spines to create a delicate yet dramatic focal point, which seems to skilfully accentuate the building’s unique foundations.
Of course, a chandelier of these proportions and multi-coloured stained glass windows perhaps don’t suit a residential interior, but that’s not to say this rock and roll aesthetic can’t be achieved at home. Incorporating stark contrasts between black and white, leathers and metals, will realise this look without compromising on luxury. I’d pair the dynamic form of my Euston Starburst Chandelier with the rough metal of my French Symmetry Hexagonal Coffee Table, and rich leather of my Brinkley Leather modular Sofa, all softened with a cacophony of moody black and navy velvet accent cushions – rock and roll, I think so.
A colourful city that I find is a true melting pot, Los Angeles is a mix of ethnicities, a mix of vintage and contemporary, a mix of the indoors and the outdoors – everything is stirred together to make this popular West Coast city unlike any other. The assortment of styles that is Los Angeles makes for colourful design, which leads me to Redbird – a vibrant downtown LA hangout.
Redbird is located in Vibiana, a cathedral-turned-event-venue, and thanks to designers Robert Weimer and Amy Knoll Fraser, the restaurant pays homage to the cathedral next door whilst also merging modern forms into the space to create the perfect marriage of old and new. The retractable roof floats above the courtyard side of the establishment while a hand-painted ceiling (which mimics the cathedral’s) adorns the cosy indoor side. An intricate laser-cut walnut geometric-pattern wraps around the bar, which straddles the two spaces with its stunning solid marble surface and black streamlined pendant lights.
Concrete tiles feature throughout the entire establishment, creating cohesion between the interior and the courtyard. The muted colours in the steel beams, concrete-tiled flooring and the marble create the perfect canvas to allow for vibrant saturated-coloured furniture, which is exactly what Weimer and Knoll Fraser prepared…
Curved orange leather stools surround the bar, immediately drawing ones gaze to the centre of the restaurant. These stools along with some greenery provide the only bursts of colour in the courtyard section – keeping things refined and contemporary in appeal. The interior, on the other hand, features an assortment of sofas and occasional chairs all varying in colour and design styles; a tangerine-coloured Hans Wegner Papa Bear Chair sits opposite a curvaceous olive-green velvet sofa, which is then placed back-to-back with a pair of black leather Chesterfield armchairs – in writing it sounds chaotic, but as Redbird proves, this approach delivers stunning effect.
The use of colour and materials in Redbird make for a warm and inviting space, which can ultimately be enjoyed all year round. Get the look by incorporating a mix of design styles and silhouettes; pair my Max Sparrow Bellevue Chesterfield Sofa with a couple of my Max Sparrow Jacques Round Back Arm Chairs, influenced by the soft curves of Redbird’s bar stools & walnut geometric-patterned bar. To finish, my Vernon Wing Back Chair certainly doesn’t disappoint, picking up on the mid-century silhouettes within Redbird’s interior, yet providing opulence in the luxe chenille upholstery
Which design-inspired restaurant catches your eye? Would you go for a dreamy palette of soft pinks and greys à la Odette, a refined rock & roll vibe like The Jane, or perhaps the warm and eclectic interior seen in Redbird?