Project Team

design: LAVA
lighting design: Light Practice

Photos: Brett Boardman


tiles and floorboards: Alexandria Tiles
chairs: Cult Design
table bases: Apex

Sicily.. luscious green olive oil, a leisurely stroll in the afternoon.

These are the ingredients that have inspired the design of Olio Kensington Street, a new restaurant in inner Sydney by Chris Bosse of LAVA.

Bosse explains: “Sicilian-born award-winning chef Lino Sauro is bringing his cuisine, based on traditional recipes from his family, newly interpreted, to Sydney. He uses very few ingredients and wants each ingredient to be visible and detectable. Our architecture has the same goal.”

Sicily’s passeggiata and extra virgin green olive oil are the two connecting elements that bring the space inside the 19th c Old Rum Store together.

“We created a passeggiata using Sicilian tiles, that flows through the restaurant and connects the kitchen, bar, dining and rooftop areas. This circulation system subdivides the space, separating serving spaces and served spaces. This is also expressed in the ceiling where a layered green ribbon reflects the floor layout.

“We introduced two pieces of ‘furniture’, free flowing joinery elements forkitchen and bar. Soft, dripping, LED-lit lines on the joinery interpret the idea of flowing oil.”

The interior features a natural colour palette – light oak timber and concrete  tabletops – with hints of Mediterranean blue and olive green. The Gubi Chair is an original plywood chair as simple as it is elegant.

“We overlaid these new elements onto the fantastic bones of the old rum store – exposed brick walls, timber rafters, steel structure, rustic timber doors, loft-style steel windows. The original elements were cleaned up and showcased as existing.”

Diners can enjoy an aperitivo on the olive tree-lined rooftop terrace overlooking Chippendale. Lighting design by Light Practice includes bendable LED strips that line the joinery and ceiling, and dimmable spotlights that create atmospheric lighting above the tables.