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QT Hotel, Sydney, Australia

Issue 74 August / September 2013 : Retail : Hotel

ARCHITECT: Nic Graham & Associates; Indyk Architects LIGHTING DESIGN: PointOfView PHOTOGRAPHY:Eszter+David

The launch of the new QT Sydney has brought a quirky, boutique approach to hospitality that had long been sorely lacking from the city’s CBD. PointOfView were drafted in to help heighten the hotel’s unique appeal.

Until last September, Sydney’s CBD suffered from a marked dearth of a world-class, quirkily styled, boutique hotels. While visitors to Paris, New York and London are spoiled for independently minded, emphatically designed accommodation, Australia’s most iconic city had little that could compare. This all changed with the arrival of QT Sydney, the fourth outlet from the QT hotels group.

By combining two of Sydney’s most iconic buildings - the old Gowings Department Store and the adjacent State Theatre - architects Indyk Architects, working alongside interior designers Nic Graham & Associates and lighting design consultants PointOfView (POV), have created a hotel that would be perfectly at home on the rue des Pretres St-Germain l’Auxerrois, or West 29th Street.

Guests enter through grand double doors into a heritage lift lobby. Above is a gold vaulted ceiling lit with a warm iridescent glow from a white 2400K cold cathode cove detail. Gilt heritage display cases have been restored and fitted with concealed LED spotlights to highlight the colourful costumed mannequins contained within.

Adjoining the Lobby is the Parlour Lane Roasters Café and Wine Bar. Its baroque mould plaster ceiling is also lit with a white cold cathode cove detail. The resulting effect is both intimate and inviting and consequently the space is filled from early morning and long into the evening with the buzz of conversation and the clinking of cups and glasses. Other necessary lighting was cleverly concealed in the joinery to provide warm, low-level task lighting to the bar counter and LED backlighting to the grand bottle display.

“The part of the lighting design you don’t notice is usually the part we spent most time on,” said Mark Elliott Design Director at POV. “When lighting is really successful people don’t notice it specifically, they just respond very warmly to the space.”

No truer words could be spoken of the QT reception area where track mounted spotlights concealed within a perimeter cove detail provide accent lighting to the luggage art wall feature and window curtains. Decorative theatre spots above the reception desk reference the theatrical history of the building and light display niches while integrated joinery lighting highlight art house display cases.

A glowing staircase located off the hotel lobby leads to the Gowings Bar and Grill Restaurant. Integrated warm, white linear LED provides a soft wash to each stair tread. This lighting is combined with the sparse use of in ground LED uplights to the exposed masonry walls, complementing the large, curated art LED video wall at the top of the stairs. The Bar is framed by a glowing overhead bottle display case lit via concealed linear LED uplighting. Linear LED is integrated into the bar to highlight its pressed metal front and to provide low level task lighting to the bar counter. Mirrored graphic discs located in the coffered ceiling are gently exposed by a cove lighting detail. The combination of recessed pin hole downlights with good glare control and track mounted spotlights that are concealed within a perimeter cove detail provide accent lighting to diners’ tables. Narrow beam spotlights give dramatic streaks to the timber Venetian shutters. The open kitchen is framed by an elevated hamper made up of colourful jars full of apricots, bottles of pickled onions and old menu books. Its warm and inviting appearance is attributable to linear LED. The black wall tiles are contrasted with the white of the chef’s uniforms and the food highlighted to give the kitchen area a stage-like quality.

The Gilt Lounge occupies the third floor of the hotel and contains a spectacular wine display. As it can be viewed from many different angles it demanded careful detailing to effectively conceal all light sources. To that end a cluster of custom designed, antique bronze tube pendants were suspended above the stairs to provide a decorative accent when viewed from the restaurant seating below. The Gilt faceted metal bar features LED recessed uplights to accent its form. A suspended black track lighting system blends with the ceiling to provide accent lighting to the colourful furniture and fixtures. High output, narrow beam linear LED is integrated into the skirting detail of the wall panels to highlight the graphic artwork found there and to define the lounge’s perimeter. A guest’s point of view is effectively directed to a human level by pools of light thrown from decorative floor lamps.

The hotel’s 200 rooms, designed by Indyk Architects, required lighting to enhance the rich fabrics, artwork and sculpture in much the same way as the public areas. The Guest Room Hallways in the ex Gowings section of the hotel are fitted with discreet, suspended tube fitting with fluted hangings to uplight the ornate plaster ceiling rose and downlight the carpet runner below.

The Guest Hallways in the ex State Theatre section of the hotel feature custom made, low level wall mounted fittings that accentuate the carpet runner with syncopated pools of light. Quirky, cast bronze ‘hands’ hold the number for each room. They are also lit by custom wall mounted fittings and are one of the many unique touches that go to make QT a truly international address on the streets of Sydney.

POV Senior Lighting Designer, Amara Clarke said  "QT Sydney has so much personality with the combination of heritage features, vibrant interior design and eclectic art curation, that what we decided to light was just as important as what we chose not to light, in order to create a cohesive experience for visitors, using light to reveal the hotel's unique elements and guide their sensory journey through the playful spaces.

Style can be a transient thing. But it has definitely come to stay at the QT Hotel Sydney, Australia.


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