By Cat Strom
Images supplied by venue
Easts Leagues Club 93-97 Spring St, Bondi Junction
02 9386 3217
Easts Leagues Clubs newest restaurant, The Italian Kitchen & Bar, has opened on level one of the Bondi Junction club.
Managed by the Dedes Group in association with Danny Russo, the venue is effortlessly stylish with an Italian theme. Muted reds and rich browns add to the warmth of the room, while large Italian prints create a lively, homely feel. Comfortable seating, an inviting lounge space and mood lighting complete the stylish yet informal space – the perfect setting to enjoy the uncomplicated Italian Kitchen & Bar cuisine.
Easts League Club Operations Manager Nick Waller explains: “With The Italian Kitchen & Bar, we wanted to offer diners the opportunity to experience top quality Italian food and drink in a club environment. There is no attitude, no pretention, and no exorbitant pricing – just great food, friendly service and a stylish setting. This is what will keep our customers coming back again and again.”
“The project was delivered on time, on budget and with minimal disruption to the operational venue.” Cat Strom
Project manager Richard Cullinan – Cullinan Ivanov Partnership – is recognised as a leading practitioner in the hospitality and club sector and he is widely respected for his ability to design and deliver projects effectively in this market.
“The Italian Kitchen and Bar Project was in concept design stage with Altis Architecture when Robin Riddle CEO of Easts asked me to manage the project to ensure the design level and quality would be maintained and also that the project would be delivered on budget and on time,” said Richard. “I had successfully delivered many projects for Easts over the previous eight years including the Elixr health Club. So from concept design stage Altis continued as the designer of the project and I was brought in as a Design and Project Manager coordinating Altis and the project on Easts behalf.
The Task Before Them
The initial brief for the project was to create a venue that had multiple uses throughout the day and evening and would continue to satisfy existing patrons. At the same time it had to attract a new demographic of younger ‘gen x and gen y’ patrons that were notably absent from the venue.
To achieve this goal the brief called for a bar area, lounge and cafe area that had a relationship to the outside where patrons could come during the day to have lunch or a coffee and sit in the sun, relax and read a newspaper or have a casual lunch and then later in the evening wind up to a wine bar style venue. The venue was to have a very strong Italian theme throughout. In addition to the wine bar style portion of the venue, a 140 seat a la carte Italian restaurant was to be developed utilizing half of the clubs Bondi Room Function and pre- function areas.
The design is modern with an eclectic mix of brightly coloured furnishings and finishes brightening up the traditional darker timber tones found in a classical trattoria-styled ristorante.
The main thoroughfare and bar lounge areas are finished with a grey vein travertine natural stone tile with carpet inlays to soften and modulate the spaces. The dining space has a dark stained parquetry timber floor.
With the bricks surrounding the kitchen pick-up window, the client was looking for a rustic textured look to bring a traditional Italian presence to the scheme. The brick surround to the servery invokes images of a Sicilian cottage where many of the buildings were built with whatever materials were available including cracked bricks and rubble aged over time.
In the restaurant, space from an existing function area has been cleverly utilised. The designers chose to incorporate large photographic images to take advantage of the blank canvas that was provided by the existing operable wall between the function rooms. This had to be dominant to scale with the space inherited for branding impact. By retaining the operable wall they provide the option to increase the size of the restaurant for special events with minimal fuss or, alternatively, can utilise the back portion of the restaurant for a function space.
The images can change easily to suit and were introduced to deal with the oversized ceiling heights in the dining space. The proposal to install the photographic images and not a decorative finish provides the client with a cost effective solution that can easily be changed to provide a point of difference within the interior.
Prominent interior design features are the timber shingles – solid timber, stained Victorian Ash – that adorn the lounge area. The design aim was to create a secluded lounge area that would feel separated from the larger bar lounge area. The use of timber shingles creates a defined and warm and intimate feel to the space. The shingles are shaped in a way that cocoons the interior space, as when people are in social mode they naturally gravitate to an intimate space; ‘we are cave like’.
The project was delivered on time and on budget and with minimal disruption to the operational venue that had to function throughout the period of construction. The resulting venue has opened up a significant alfresco dining and lounge area into what was previously a totally internalized club lacking any alfresco areas.
Sound & Video Contracting supplied and installed the AV requirements for the project. The venue’s Development Application had real constraints for noise output, with the nearest apartment residents being only 15 metres away. The sound contractors had to work on a sound system design that could still deliver sound levels required to provide the ambience of a busy pub but without intruding on the privacy of the neighbours.There is an EV ceiling mounted speaker system from EVID C4.2 speakers and C10.1 ceiling subs with Dynacord amps and a DJ system using QSC AD-S82 surface mount speakers and a QSC AD-S28T sub again with Dynacord amps. They reworked an existing Peavey Nion for networked system control with local control through Peavey 4X4 panels. The Nion is used for ambient noise sensing and limiting to meet the DA constraints over two zones.
Designer: Altis Architecture
Design/Project Manager: Cullinan Ivanov Partnership
AV: Sound & Video Contracting
Furniture: Hughes Commercial Furniture, Thonet, Cafe Culture, Chairbiz
Carpet: Designer Rugs, Brintons, Natural Floorcoverings
Lighting: Lighting Group, Light Culture, De De Ce, Tecnolux