Images © eszteranddavid
Following a contemporary refurbishment, the heritage-listed Gowings Department Store and adjacent State Theatre buildings in the heart of Sydney’s central business district have reopened as the QT Sydney landmark hotel.
Over 17 months, the original 1920s stone cladding, gargoyles, timber floors and retail showcases were carefully restored and incorporated into an inventive public space designed by Nic Graham & Associates. Australia-based design consultancy, PointOfView (POV) created the lighting for the hotel, restaurants and bars.
The 200 guest rooms were designed and styled by Indyk Architects, which – like Nic Graham & Associates – has been a frequent collaborator with PointOfView in the past. “QT is a small chain, and we worked on QT Gold Coast too,” says Mark Elliott, director of POV Lighting. “They were both great projects to work on, and we’re very happy that QT Sydney is such a success with both foreigners and Sydneysiders.
“With every project we work on, we try to push every dollar of the budget to deliver something special. This project had aspirations to be the most talked about hospitality project in Sydney for years. There were challenges in that it’s a heritage building too.”
The lighting had to complement the strong aesthetic created in the public spaces, as Mark explains: “We tried to enhance the eclectic colours, materials and textures, so that guests can bathe within pockets of light and shade. We avoided unwanted architectural lighting projecting into the space, and supported Nic Graham’s team with technical information wherever needed.”
POV used a high-quality lighting control system and retained some use of halogen lighting. The company chose to focus on feature elements rather than uniform washes of light. Integrated lighting played a significant role in the bar and restaurant, where the hamper over the bar is turned into a focal chandelier, and LED strips illuminate the bottles within. The double-height wine wall is washed with light, creating a central focus and drawing the eye to the upper bar.
Custom-designed fixtures were designed to complement the interior design, driven by G+A with technical assistance from the POV team.
“The part that you don’t notice is usually the part we spent most time over, and probably has the biggest effect on the lighting as a whole,” Mark comments. “When lighting is really successful, people don’t notice it, they just respond very warmly to a space.”