Thursday 08 May 2014
The designers were charged with the challenge of reinventing part of the Lowenbrau into a Parisian style brasserie seating almost 300 people. The design had to be authentic and sensitive to the site, a heritage building located in The Rocks, while making a modern contribution to Sydney’s dining scene.
The interiors of Ananas breathe the glamour of 1920s Paris and an aspiration to joy and debauchery that overcame the city in the post-WW1 years. Inspiration came from the unassuming glamour of the Parisians. These uniquely French tendencies informed the layout of spaces and details like the coloured bistro table bases and leather trim to the banquettes.
Antiques were sourced in Paris and adapted to suit their new purpose. An old theatre table sits atop a mirrored plinth in the bar. The antique chandelier over the maître d’ comprises of hundreds of glass rods that diffuse light in a spectacular way. Classic furniture is updated with colour and detail.
Ananas, or pineapple, has long been a symbol of hospitality, a rarity in France it became an item of celebrity and curiosity; as the centrepiece of a food display it represented good cheer and welcome. This strong visual motif can be found throughout the bar and restaurant.
Mirrors were integral to the design of Ananas. The energy and frisson of Brasserie Ananas is captured and reflected all around the rooms, each mirror captures the fleeting glance and shared look between two people and creates a continuous sparkle and dazzling light.
The design team have, over the years developed strategies for managing constraints and showcasing the features of the significant heritage building where Ananas is located. While the lengthy authority approvals process threatened to quell the designers’ fervour for the project, the client’s short timeframe encouraged passion and productivity that exceeded all expectations. The design process was kicked off with an expedition to Paris that included intense meetings between the designers, the owners and the chef. Completed in four months this speed was aided by a close-knit project team in constant communication.
The greatest lesson learnt from the tour of Paris was that the brasseries and bistros of France reflect the sensibilities of the owner and the locale. To imbue Ananas with its own identity of refined glamour and sassy fun, the designers turned to both French and Sydney based artisans to create one off custom features; custom handmade pineapple tiles, a custom mural on a mirror that recalls the scandal of Le Dejeuner sur l’Herbe, hand painted fish in the Oyster bar and a French pewter bar top hand tooled by an air freighted Frenchman.