Design Travel explores the interplay between design and travel. It might be a new hotel for business travellers, an airline collaborating with a world-renowned architect or a product designed specifically to enhance the travel experience. Our brief is to make you want to be there and inspire you to seek out incredible design examples when you travel, or in your own city. 

Stephanie Williams, is an interior designer,  writer and travel communicator. Stephanie was the first editor of Qantas epiQure and her work has appeared in magazines, newspapers, television and online.  She also has a love of fashion design, borne while working for Comme des Garcons

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NEW OPENING: Mode at Four Seasons Sydney, Interview with Designer Rachel Luchetti

NEW OPENING: Mode at Four Seasons Sydney, Interview with Designer Rachel Luchetti

Luchetti Krelle is an award-winning Sydney interior design firm established by Stuart Krelle and Rachel Luchetti. Taking on some of Sydney (and Australia's) best hospitality projects, they recently collaborated with the team at Four Seasons Sydney to create Mode Kitchen & Bar, a, everything for every hour kind of venue in the heart of the hotel. Design Travel spoke to Rachel to get the inside story on the design and beautiful finishes she chose for the space. We've also just release a new podcast episode featuring Rachel, and you can listen here

Take us through the new design and what a few of the key elements represent?
We drew inspiration from the refined glamour of the 1920’s golden days of grand hotels, which is referenced in the interior palette of polished brass, marble and crystal-like fluted glass.

An impressive new bar over nine metres long has been relocated in the centre of the venue which allows all areas of the restaurant to feel connected to this hub of activity. An interesting twist is the single-height bar top for both guests and staff, removing the traditional visual barrier and enhancing interaction between the spaces, taking cues from the communal spirit of European dining.

This façade of elegantly curved, fluted glass and steel protects the space like a jewel box, and pearl-like pendant lights drop from the arching blades, creating an implied canopy of shelter from the atrium above.
— Rachel Luchetti, Interior Designer, Luchetti Krelle

How does designing a restaurant within a hotel differ from designing a standalone venue? Are there any design decisions that you had to make in relation to in-house guests?
Although located within a hotel, it is important for a venue to have its own personality and signature, to offer the guest a unique experience, not a cookie-cutter generic experience. The interior design had to successfully make the space transition from breakfast, to lunch, to cocktails and dinner.  Consideration of how the different food and beverages would be placed and served throughout different times of the day, and providing enough flexibility of seating to suit either the single traveller or a large group celebration.

How closely to do you work with the food team - chefs, sommeliers, wait staff and hotel food and beverage leaders in order to create a space that aligns with the ability to provide high quality service?
Operational functionality is incredibly important for both happy guests and happy wait/kitchen staff.  We start with understanding the Food and Beverage team’s vision for their offering and how our design can represent their key values. Smooth paths of travel for the staff and understanding which product should be displayed or concealed at different times of the day are key in giving a venue flexibility, to provide the best experience for each guest throughout the day.

You've worked with the Four Seasons Sydney Hotel on a few projects now - how does that relationship translate into the design?
Yes, a strong client-designer relationship and open communication is a great benefit to both parties and ultimately to the realisation of the design.  

What was the highlight of the project for you? And the greatest challenge?
Greatest highlight was seeing our concept turn from computer rendering to reality! The intimacy and comfort that has resulted from raising the floor to a single level and screening the venue from the Lobby is such a marked difference from the previous venue. Another was relocating the bar to the centre of the venue and making it the hero. One great challenge involved working within the constraints of the entry ramp requirements and the existing structural slab which really came down to the last millimetres in getting it to work. Another challenge was the fabrication of the custom-designed steel and glass screens, integrating power within them and ensuring the finished steelwork achieved a refined elegance.

Where do you think hotel design is heading at the moment - what will guests see more of, and say goodbye to?
Increasingly, travellers are seeking relevance of design and an authentic local experience. More than ever, the Foodie Generation is seeking venues where they can connect over coffee or a meal, and the “place-making” of the venues is important for them to feel an emotional connection.  

We will see more of the “apartmentalising” of hotel rooms, meaning the design will become more residential and less branded or institutional.
— Rachel Luchetti, Interior Designer, Luchetti Krelle

The success of Airbnb has shown that travellers feel more connected to a location through residential accommodation. Thus hotels will need to rise to the challenge of making their accommodation feel more like a luxury residence that provides offerings that give the guest an emotive connection to the local environment.  

Where is next on your hotel hit list?
Soho House - New York
Ett Hem – Stockholm
American Trade Hotel – Panama
Aman Tokyo

What can Design Travel readers keep their eyes out for in the future, from Luchetti Kralle
Longrain Tokyo, The Greenhouse Manly, restaurant and bar, Shoal Bay Country Club, The Byron at Byron, Tattersalls Hotel Armidale, a heritage building refurbishment and The Royal Hotel Queanbeyan.

You can check out more of Luchetti Krelle's award-winning work here. Images by Anson Smart. 

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