Project Team

Interior Design: David Hicks Design
AV: Avsound Productions


Carpet: Feltex
Lighting: Inlite, Dedece

The Sugarmill Hotel is a mix of venues under one roof from the owners of Cargo, The Loft and Gazebo Wine Garden. The ground-floor is an old-school style pub harking back to the Cross’ bohemian past while the second and third floor club/bar, Kit and Kaboodle, has a Shanghai vibe.

Designer David Hicks said that the client wanted a new concept in venue for Sydney.

” The brief was formulated between the client and us over the two year project,” he said. “The client really wanted to explore and have fun with this venue and their dedication to pushing the boundaries of design certainly kept us on our toes. We have used the flavour of Melbourne’s St Kilda and added touches of downtown New York. With references to establishments such as New York’s ‘Pastis’, freqeunted by the girls on ‘Sex in the City’, and Melbournes ‘the George Wine Room’ the theme is quirky, relaxed, tactile and earthy.”

Mixing these concepts and injecting new, fresh ideas has resulted in an exciting, warm and very bespoke design, certainly the direction the client wanted to take.

The brief from the client was to source, design or find furniture that was different. A majority of the furniture has been specifically designed for both comfort and empathy with the local street scene while taking cues from yesteryear.

The main challenge of this project was the co-ordination of services into the existing building structure.

“Due to the amount of services such as lighting, airconditioning, ventialtion, sprinklers, electrical etc we had to design the ceilings in conjunction with these services and then massage the space below into a workable and interesting layout for the design of the venue,” commented David. “This is always tricky when dealing with old buildings.

“The other challenge was the sourcing side of the design for new materials and suppliers of finishes and furniture. We had to look to the USA for certain product as Australia just does not have the history or the population to allow an abundance of good vintage product. A lot of the light fittings and furniture was sourced from America and Europe so the logistics of purchasing it and getting it over here was a huge hurdle. Qne that was worth it in the end.”

The Asian infused ‘Kit’ is a Shanghai-tastic space that has been inspired by such diverse influences as 80’s discoteques, Chinese hawkers markets, Dolce Gabbana and Yves Saint Laurent’s famous opium advertisments. This intoxicating mix of colonial Shanghai decadence provides a play den for the most hedonistic.

A gold deco-inspired zig-zag bar creates the stage for the overhead 14 metres of antique and vintage glass light fixtures. This mix of treasures glow in the pinkness of the Venetian Stucco space and become a focal point when contrasted with the black gloss bottle display shelving behind. Within the ode to the Ming dynisty sit two large antique chinese dragons made from solid bronze. The custom made carpet, a retro pattern in geisha red and samurai black, totally contrasts with the eclectic interior providing yet another visual feast. Feature oriental wall screens lined in bamboo and shimmering gold detail are illuminated around the perimetre of the space indicating that you may be inside a glamorous Chinese compound rather than on the first floor in Kings Cross. Gold leafing details, red Asian wrought iron lace work lanterns, black gloss bamboo chairs with gold leather seats, a gold hand shaped chair and a massive leopard print snake shaped banquette, a nod to Dolce Gabbana, add to the flavour that can only be described as having the entire ‘kit’……….and if you progress to the next floor you may even finish with the added ‘Kaboodle’.

Arriving on the second floor, ‘Kaboodle’, you are greated with full-on, in your face hollywood glamour from the 1960’s. Think outrageous, champagne swilling, models, actresses and movie executives partying in Palm Springs at Lucille Ball’s house minus the obligitary pool.

In sympathy with the legendary design era of 1960’s America, custom designed is the vibe on this floor. The days of the minimalist harbourside city have gone making way for pattern and colour, excitement and frivolity. This cue has been taken and incorporated into the custom designed carpet which swirls around the space in a mix of greens and black. The graphic nostalgia of the carpet anchors the space and creates a playground on which an abundance of unique furniture floats. Iintimate seating areas have been created within the layout providing new spaces to explore and canoodle.

Vintage pieces have been sourced from all over the USA to strengthen the impact and authenticity of the space. Famous pieces of furniture have been secured to add to the time warp, while unknown vintage pieces will provide an intriguing layer. A vast combination of fabrics have been used to soften, spoil and tease. Pattern upon pattern, colour upon colour, the mix being grass green with bright blue.

The mirror tiled bar reflects the madness and creates the level of glam. White three diemnsional flower wall sconces line the back timber wall creating an entry to the powder rooms. Green leaf pattern curtains line the space giving way to views over the Cross and the old trees lining Darlinghurst Road.

‘Kit’ and ‘Kaboodle’, the names say it all.

Photos: Shannon McGrath