Richard Cullinan, is recognised as a leading practitioner in the hospitality and club sector widely respected for his ability to design and deliver projects effectively in this market.
In February 2009 Richard set up a practice in partnership with talented architect Vladimir Ivanov – forming Cullinan Ivanov Partnership .
“The Italian Kitchen and Bar Project was in concept design stage with Altis Architecture when Robin Riddle CEO of Easts asked me to manage the project to ensure the design level and quality would be maintained and also that the project would be delivered on budget and on time,” said Richard. “I had successfully delivered many projects for Easts over the previous eight years including the Elixr health Club which is widely seen as the best premium yoga and pilates venue in Sydney, attracting the who’s who of the Eastern Suburbs and mainly a female market. So from concept design stage Altis continued as the designer of the project and I was brought in as a Design and Project Manager coordinating Altis and the project on Easts behalf.
“The project was challenging as it had multiple clients - first and foremost Easts Leagues but then Con Dedes of Dedes Group who was to operate the venue bringing his extensive experience.”
The initial brief for the project was to create a venue that had multiple uses throughout the day and evening and would satisfy existing patrons. At the same time it had to attract a new demographic of younger gen x gen y’s that were notably absent from the venue.
To achieve this goal the brief called for a bar area, lounge and cafe area that had a relationship to the outside where patrons could come during the day to have lunch or a coffee and sit in the sun, relax and read a newspaper or have a casual lunch and then later in the evening wind up to a wine bar style venue. The venue was to have a very strong Italian theme throughout. In addition to the wine bar style portion of the venue, a 140 seat a la carte Italian restaurant was to be developed utilizing half of the clubs Bondi Room Function and pre- function areas.
“The clients were wanting this venue to make a real statement and become a new destination within Bondi Junction,” said Richard. “They wanted the venue to visually reference the Italian theme but still appeal to the demographic. The designers tried to approach it in a contemporary way with some references to the traditional Italian style. The venue was designed using existing spaces to retain flexibility so the interior was to be adaptable and have the ability for multi use to suit the fluxuating market. A key focus was to open the venue to the north with alfresco balconies and a focus on drinking and casual dining.”
The design is modern with an eclectic mix of brightly coloured furnishings and finishes brightening up the traditional darker timber tones found in a classical trattoria styled ristorante.
The main thoroughfare and bar lounge areas are finished with a grey vein travertine natural stone tile with carpet inlays to soften and modulate the spaces.
The dining space has a dark stained parquetry timber floor installed. Natural materials with warm colours and tones with bright highlights to bring out the features.
With the bricks surrounding the kitchen pick-up window, the client was looking for a rustic textured look to bring a traditional Italian presence to the scheme. The brick surround to the servery invokes images of a Sicilian cottage where many of the buildings were built with whatever materials were available including cracked bricks and rubble aged over time.
Within the entry from Spring Street a platform was incorporated so that the client could use this for display purposes, creating a scheme that could be seasonally changed / altered. Currently a Vespa is on display.
In the restaurant, space from an existing function area has been utilised.
The designers chose to incorporate the large photographic images to take advantage of the blank canvas that was provided by the existing operable wall between the existing function rooms. This had to be dominant to scale with the space inherited for branding impact. By retaining the operable wall they provide the option to increase the size of the restaurant for special events with little fuss or alternatively use the back portion of the restaurant for function use.
The images can change easily to suit. The images were introduced to deal with the oversized ceiling heights in the dining space. The proposal to install images and not a decorative finish provides the client with a cost effective solution that can easily be changed to provide a point of difference within the interior.
A prominent feature are the timber shingles - a stained Victorian Ash solid timber - in the lounge area. The idea was to create a secluded lounge area that would feel separated from the large bar lounge area. The use of timber shingles creates a defined and warm and intimate feel to the space. These are shaped to cocoon the space as people in social mode naturally gravitate to intimate space ‘we are cave like’.
The project was delivered on time and on budget and with minimal disruption to the operational venue that had to function during construction. The resulting venue has opened up a significant alfresco dining and lounge area into what was previously a totally internalized club lacking any alfresco areas.
Sound & Video Contracting supplied and installed the AV requirements for the project. The DA had constraints for noise put on it with the nearest apartment residents only 15 metres away so they had to work on a sound system design that could still deliver sound levels required to provide the ambience of a busy pub but not annoy the neighbours. This has been tested in the last few weeks with the after match functions for the football club in the run up to the grand final.
There is an EV ceiling mounted speaker system from EVID C4.2 speakers and C10.1 ceiling subs with Dynacord amps and a DJ system using QSC AD-S82 surface mount speakers and a QSC AD-S28T sub again with Dynacord amps. They reworked an existing Peavey Nion for networked system control with local control through Peavey 4X4 panels. The Nion is used for ambient noise sensing and limiting to meet the DA constraints over two zones.