Project Team

Interior Design: Bates Smart
Builder: Buildcorp
Lighting Consultants: The Flaming Beacon
Audio: Len Wallis


Furniture: Thonet
Lighting: Custom Fittings
Carpets: Brintons
Wallpaper: Publisher Textiles
Joinery: Karisma Joinery Pty Ltd

The task of creating Neil Perry’s latest restaurant, Rockpool Bar & Grill Sydney, and transforming the heritage listed Art Deco City Mutual Building in the heart of the Sydney’s CBD into one of the city’s finest restaurants, was a challenge welcomed by leading Australian architecture and design firm, Bates Smart.

Rockpool Bar & Grill Sydney is the fourth project for Bates Smart, working closely with Perry and his business partners, Trish Richards and David Doyle over the past three years on the creation and evolution of the Rockpool group of restaurants.

Firstly, there was opening of Rockpool Bar & Grill Melbourne at Crown in 2006, followed by the refurbishment of the original Rockpool Sydney in late 2007 and most recently, Spice Temple at 10 Bligh Street Sydney, which opened in January 2009.

While Bates Smart’s Director Simon Swaney and Associate Grant Cheyne have deliberately imparted a similar handwriting to the Melbourne restaurant, they have made Rockpool Bar & Grill Sydney unique and distinctly different.

Swaney emphasizes that whilst the consistent fine produce ethos was very literally interpreted for the Melbourne restaurant, Rockpool Bar & Grill Sydney is more about grandeur and the celebration of dining.

“If we liken the Melbourne restaurant to a good piece of steak, Sydney is more like a fine bottle of Champagne.

“Built in 1932, this is one of Sydney’s most stunning historic spaces that most people have never seen before. It is grand and spectacular, and simply warrants an identity all of its own,” says Swaney.

Unlike the recently opened Spice Temple, in which the arrival experience is one of discovery and surprise, Rockpool Bar & Grill Sydney will be entered via the grand Art Deco doors on the corner of Hunter and Bligh Streets.

“In respect to the magnificent central space, where the impressive ceiling height is in excess of 11 meters, we have composed interior treatments which are restricted to the floor and furnishings.

“Not wanting to compete nor be overwhelmed by the
dominant architecture, a soft black 3D carpet of sorts has been inserted in the space,” Swaney says.

Throughout the restaurant, materials, in this almost entirely black palette, include stained oak, marble, mild steel and leather.

All furnishings, decorative light fittings, joinery and carpets have been custom-designed for Rockpool Bar & Grill Sydney, and the creation of intimate spaces and attention to detail ensure that the dining experience is memorable and worth a return visit, or two.