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    Kristoffer Paulsen

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Australia’s rooftop cocktail bar's cosy design

Georgina Johnston
24 Jan 2020

Rooftop restaurant designed to evoke the intimacy of dining underground, by Chris Connell Design

Tetto di Carolina is the latest project by Chris Connell, conceived with the shared vision of restaurant stalwart Joe Mammone alongside partners Joey Dee and James Sutherland. The Italian translation of ‘roof’, the cocktail bar is perched above sibling venues Bar Carolina and Cantina Carolina on South Yarra’s Toorak Rd. 

Each fitting and finishing has been made bespoke by Connell, with Tetto delivering the kind of considered detail that has become synonymous with his designs. Integral to Tetto’s mood and intimacy, lighting has been executed in collaboration with Copper Industrial Designs and creates an immersive experience.

Upon entering, a rust-red steel framed door opens to a glowing staircase. The sleek upward passage mirrors the aesthetic of the space above with polished plaster walls, a pop of terrazzo and solid walnut timber flooring generating a sense of anticipation. 

A sculptured steel wall in rust-red greets guests at the top, lit by a slender pendant light, a glass design used repeatedly throughout the room. The long, slim and luxuriant indoor space features a rich palette of garnet tones, housed by a barrel vaulted ceiling that creates a feeling of being underground despite its rooftop location. The ceiling, complemented by strips of light, achieves a sense of intimacy and warmth, softening the polished plaster ceiling that continues down the dining room walls. 

Tetto’s opulent minimalism exudes an equal sense of sophistication and comfort. Plush deep green carpet is soft underfoot, while custom designed leather banquettes and private nooks encourage lengthy conversations and grazing over Italian small plates and a curated drinks list. The restaurant can accommodate up to 120 guests across its indoor and outdoor spaces. Rust-red is again utilised in a feature wall towards the rear of the dining room, fitted with a floor-to-ceiling champagne fridge that glows with expensive fizz from around the world. 

The six meter walnut bar featuring caramel porcelain tiling sets the stage for premium pouring. This focal piece is dotted with walnut stools and sits below a multicoloured horizontal pendant that frames the performance of talented mixologists. A mirrored wall makes art out of quality liquor that lines each bar shelf, reflecting a radiant light as cocktails shake and champagne pops.

An alfresco terrace fit with a retractable curved roof welcomes summer sipping and cosy winter dining alike, with large rust-red steel framed windows opening to breezy views of leafy South Yarra below. Terrazzo flooring sees pops of honey onyx tiles that exude elegance, while designer outdoor furniture transports diners to aperitivo hour in Rome.

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