Project Team

Design: Giant Design Consultants
AV: The PA People


Water: Vestal Water
Custom Joinery & Furniture: Giant Design
Lighting: Prolight
Furniture: James Richardson

Photographer – Andrew Worssam

Located in a long forgotten patch of East Sydney, Chef Luke Nguyen’s new restaurant was always going to be a destination. The space is split into two very different areas; the restaurant ‘Red Lantern on Riley’ and the bar, called ‘Red Lily.

Barstool 1339 with embossed seat

From Czech. Classic design Bentwood stool. Solid European beech frame in Wenge with embossed beech ply seat. Also available in Walnut, Natural, Teak and Jarrah.

James Richardson

Red Lantern on Riley has the grandeur of a time gone by. The brief was to create a space that looked like it had always been there, aging gracefully and fashioned in a colonial Indochine style. Taking it’s cues from films such as ‘The Quiet American’ and ‘In the Mood for Love’, the atmosphere is intimate, elegant and alluring. The space is divided into zones to break down its volume and create a greater sense of intimacy, no matter where seated.

All wall and decorative joinery finishes are in a speciality, hand-finish paint and plaster to create an aged and textured look. A custom wallpaper, first featured in the original Crown St restaurant has been colour shifted and rescaled to help connect the two sister sites whilst being suitable for the new restaurant’s period styling. . Forming the centerpiece of the room is a huge communal table with an aged marble top rescued from the bar of the site’s previous incarnation.

Hand made encaustic tiles from Vietnam split the room in two, leading from the front door through the main dining space and beneath an arched corridor to the bar in the rear. All the furniture was custom-designed for the site, and a treasure trove of lighting and props have been sourced by Luke and partner Suzanna Boyd from their travels in Vietnam. There are also personal touches that relate to Luke’s family history. The kitchen is a gleaming jewel of a backdrop, lit not to dominate, but to showcase its stars.

Red Lily, accessed either from the rear lane or through the planted ‘laneway’ to the rear of the restaurant, is small and gritty; a Vietnamese back street bar in the space of the former garage. Its raw finishes, subdued lighting and intimate seating, transport customers to another time and place. The dark back-bar display (only one bottle deep due to space restrictions) is the perfect balance to the other rough and raw walls. The simple seating areas, with recycled marble and framed mirrors individually lit, provide a niche to retreat.

Working in close collaboration with the client throughout the entire project ensured a result that feels personal to them. Given the draw of the name, the quality of the food and the theatre of the environment, word quickly spread and the restaurant was a success even before its official launch.

The PA People supplied the audio that consisted of 16 x JBL Control 24CT, 3 x Crown 1160MA Amps, 3 x Crown 1-Vcap wall plate attenuators and 3 x Pap custom RCA - Balanced XLR wall plates.

JBL Control 24CT

JBL Control 24CT ceiling speakers are ideal for venue installations, surround sound or a secondary speaker system in another room and they deliver clean, crisp audio.