From the boys that brought us one of our favourite Sydney restaurants, The Apollo, comes their latest joint venture, Cho Cho San on Macleay Street in Sydney’s Potts Point. The design references a material palette consistent with contemporary Japanese architecture – think concrete, birch ply, white paint and brass highlights. The space, designed by George Livissianis, is infused with a Japanese sensibility & simplicity in detailing. “This was a fundamental consideration when designing a Japanese influenced dining/bar room – to achieve a Japanese spirit & feeling without using any iconography or thematic/kitsch references,” says George Livissianis.
The entire ceiling is a stretched material (Barrisol) that is back-lit to create a natural glow to the room. Once dimmed, the ceiling provides glorious light quality which is almost not recognisable as a light source. This was a critical component in the design as a response to what was a cavernous, dark room. The simplicity of the room is also maintained by concealing the services, a/c and audio behind the perforated panels which primarily function as acoustic absorbers. This was essential to control the acoustic comfort within the space and to preserve the material palette of concrete and white washed brick walls. “The design responds instinctively to the space we inherited – the long, disjointed dining room, the limited street access through the side door and the lack of street presence. We wanted to give the space life & texture and connect the rooms with a very simple element.”
This interior is deceivingly simple, at the same time managing to resolve a set of complex issues in an elegant and beautiful way. A real triumph. Bravo Geroge! Read on for a little Q&A with the man himself.
+ What was your design inspiration for this project – i.e was it a result of client’s brief, a particular concept or an idea etc?
The design responds to the site – its limitations and its strengths and was heavily influenced by the proportions of the dining room, the connection to the streetscape, the segmented nature of the room and its cave like appeal.
+ Your favourite thing about this project?
The shelf detail and the use of the concrete cone holes for bag hooks in the bar.
+ What did you learn during the process?
The whole process with this builder is an education – he’s such an experienced craftsmen that you learn everything from formwork to joinery detailing and everything in-between.
+ Would you have done anything differently?
Always – I think there is something about every project that under different circumstances may have had an alternative outcome.
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