Botanic House — Sydney, Australia

Botanic House — Sydney, Australia

Nestled within Sydney’s Botanic Gardens among towering trees and robust bamboo, Botanic House supports a lofty natural order with refined modern arrangements. With an interior scheme of soothing pigeon grey and whispers of pale terracotta among lime wash-finished oak – together with bursts of greenery and feature pendant lights sprouting delicate transparent canvas petals – it’s a streamlined oasis with the all accoutrements of cosmopolitan convenience.

‘The finishes touch the space lightly and sit in harmony with the gardens,’ suggests Kathryn Thompson, director of the Sydney-based Five Foot One design firm, which re-imagined both the upper and lower levels of the original Gardens Restaurant building. ‘It was designed to take on a polished and clean aesthetic to complement the fine food offering,’ she adds regarding the fusion Chinese/Thai/Vietnamese dishes devised by the illustrious chef, Luke Nguyen.

Rattan panelling adds cosseting texture to the entrance’s bar alcove, subtly nodding to the menu’s Asian origins, whilst a levitating arrangement of dried leaves created by Design by Booshi references the nearby Palm Grove and inclusions of native Australian ingredients in the dishes (including tempura saltbush adding textural crunch to grilled prawns and the fish curry’s lemon myrtle-infused coconut milk). Melbourne-based artist Jack Devereux’s single line portrait murals further compliment the offering with their curves echoed upon the Terrazzo stool outlines, arched joinery elements and atrium windows.

‘Downstairs in the Farm Cove Eatery, a more organic and earthy aesthetic was applied to create a more casual dining experience,’ enthuses Thompson of the cafés soft-edged robustness and darker timbers. The veined grey Quartzite service and bar tops plus polished brass and bronze lighting fixtures upstairs surrender to a rich soil-toned Terracotta counter and assorted hand-made ceramic pendant lights, whilst cement stools sporting deep dusty Eucalypt pink shades recall upturned garden flowerpots. Combining these elements, Botanic House is a triumph of raw beauty, authenticity, sustainability and materiality. §

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