Design: Dreamtime Design Australia
AV: Slave International
Handcrafted Woodwork: Country Design
Photographer – Paul Gosney
Sydney’s Rocks precincts has just become an even more desirable meeting place, with the addition of the neighbourhood’s newest local – Grain – a bespoke bar by Four Seasons Hotel Sydney.
Stunningly positioned overlooking George and Alfred Streets at Circular Quay off the hotel’s lobby, Grain combines an overwhelming collection of fascinating artistic and design elements with a cosy year-round indoor/outdoor feel.
Designed by award-winning architect Michael McCann, Grain brings a strong local bar feel to the city’s harbour front. It sports an eye-catching central island bar clad in giant curved slabs of sustainable Queensland Blackbutt timber over a frosted glass inner core. Other highlights include a floating up-lit bottle wall, large grained wooden artisan entry doors giving access directly from George Street as well as the Hotel lobby; a large central fireplace, and retractable glass windows which open to views of the Quay over a beautiful native garden. There are also commissioned artworks that reflect the personality of the bespoke venue.
Grain features a blend of highly creative features bordering on the theatrical yet at the same time elegant, warm and comfortable with a creativity-focused interior. The overall ambience, drawing on the “grain” theme, features a number of beautifully creative uses of timber. The walls are clad in American Cherry wood, adding a subtle shade of red to compliment the use of warm, vibrant copper throughout the bar.
One wall features a fascinating back-lit section of laser-cut perforations behind the American Cherry veneer front in a stylised “delta” pattern which glows softly from within, bringing out the natural red of the cherry wood. Another timber wall features a beautiful inlay of antique copper metal in the Cherry veneer from specialist Sydney firm Axolotl.
At the bar’s hotel entrance, an artisan sand-blast carved New Guinea Rosewood timber floor-to-ceiling wall panel sits behind a custom designed and built glass topped Tasmanian Oak timber “skeleton” table, all by Tamworth based master timber craftsman Athol Wright of Country Design.
Sitting atop this entry glass topped table is an organically hand-carved timber based lamp entitled “Museum Lamp” from acclaimed American designer Bill Sofield for US-based Baker Furniture from local supplier Cavit & Co.
Featured at both Lobby and George Street entrances are custom designed and made oversized timber entry doors featuring a patchwork of differing Australian hardwoods, also hand-made by Athol Wright of Country Design.
A stunning island fireplace clad in artisan-matched Vavona burl timber, actually shaved from the massive root area of the giant Sequoia Redwood Mammoth tree from North America, representing perhaps the ultimate in recycling by using the root of the tree.
The custom fireplace features hand-made copper clad Hebel aerated concrete “rocks” in a local collaboration with artist Mark Lovelock and Axolotl Liquid Metals inspired by the stunning cast bronze fire features of New York fire artist Elena Colombo.
A new glazed façade along the Hotel’s George Street features a custom designed retractable 8 ft. tall glass upper wall section that disappears into the ceiling void at the touch of a button by local glass manufacturer AGP, opening Grain to views of Circular Quay over a beautiful garden of native Australian “Black Boy” grass trees, which amazingly grow through regeneration from Australian bushfires and which take up to 100 years to grow 3 ft tall.
Perhaps the most eye-catching feature is the centre island bar, clad in giant slabs of Australian Blackbutt timber over a frosted glass inner core by Athol Wright with a unique custom-designed hanging up-lit wall of bottles by local structural specialist Noel Bowden and lighting consultant Tim Barry, seemingly floating in mid air.
According to Slave International, the sound design for the venue called for a highly detailed background system with the capability of higher power for DJ reproduction. This had to be achieved with no visible element at all.
Using JBL mid/high enclosures around the ceiling void rigged high enough to protrude through the ornate ceiling panels gave us the best possible coverage. This ensures that there are no loud areas.
The low end subwoofer requirement called for a high powered but low profile finish to incorporate into the seamless quality finish that encompasses the room. The solution was Danley subwoofers that were custom made in the US for the venue.
The final result is a very high sound quality that challenges that of any other bar in Sydney.