Eat Drink Design Awards 2020: Best Restaurant Design

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Jury’s comment

Hotel restaurants can sometimes be an afterthought, but Mat Lindsay’s austerely chic Poly, in the basement of the Paramount House hotel in Sydney’s Surry Hills, stands out as a destination in its own right. Located on a semi-subterranean downtown corner, the development responds intelligently to a challenging site. Featuring a panoramic bar and a boldly exposed open kitchen, there is a restraint and timelessness in the design that suggests a long life ahead. Communal tables, exposed utilities, raw brick, and polished concrete make this a sparse, industrial, but absolutely on the pulse spot for dining. The 80-seat venue is just as accessible for a late snack as it is for a long lunch, and is a worthy sequel to Lindsay’s legendary Ester in nearby Chippendale. Anthony Gill Architects’ vision is beautifully purposeful and elegant in its simplicity. “I can see this place looking exactly the same in 20 years,” noted one of the jurors. Everyone agreed: Poly is a keeper.

Design statement

Poly is a restaurant and bar located at the foot of the Paramount House Hotel. He reworks the existing ground floor of the warehouse to create a dining room with two long bars and an open kitchen with a flame grill in the center. Poly was designed to look like it’s always been there; new work in space is difficult to identify. The walls, which use recycled bricks to match the existing, allowed us to reconfigure the rooms, with the bottom two bricks left raw to cope with cleaning. The openings of these new walls are supported by cast concrete lintels – low sills that signal a change in use. The new charcoal concrete floor rises to form two long bars and the kitchen service. The shelves in fine steel and the frame of the bench are treated like pieces of furniture, positioned between the brick columns. Initially, the original wooden ceiling was exposed, but acoustic issues with the hotel above forced the architects to revisit it. A new acoustic ceiling has been installed, concealing the main structure but moving away from the windows to provide relief.

Poly
74–76 Commonwealth Street
Surry Hills, New South Wales
polysurryhills.com.au

Anthony Gill Architects
Level 2, office 206
61 Marlborough Street
Surry Hills, New South Wales
gillarchitects.com.au

group project
Anthony Gill, Luisa Campos.

See the entire image gallery at the Eat Drink Design Awards website.

The Eat Drink Design Awards 2020 are organized by Media Architecture and supported by supporting partners Australia, Latitude and Roca.

The Eat Drink Design Awards are supported by the Australian Institute of Architects and the Design Institute of Australia.

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