We just took an amazing trip through time for our latest project! We had the pleasure of working with the fantastic team behind Sydney’s Lobo Plantation to create Kittyhawk, taking Sydney’s cocktail scene to a whole new level. The story starts in 1944, with the Liberation of Paris. The whole of Paris was out on the streets celebrating, dancing and drinking Champagne with the American troops who brought them freedom. We captured that atmosphere of nostalgia and elation in one amazing rum and rye bar, with a sophisticated blend of fin de siècle French details and authentic artefacts and decorations from WWII. The vibe is sophisticated, with the raffish charm of the American GI’s at their favourite decadent after hours R’n’R spots and the chic, can-do spirit of Paris in the 1940s.
Working closely with Kittyhawk’s inspiring owners Jared, Mikey and Eddie, we created unique areas that flow naturally, from the European conservatory to the massive main bar, through to an elevated lounge upholstered in hand-dyed leather, and on to a private booth lined with antique mirrors, called - what else? – the Cockpit in the main room, all eyes are drawn to the AZB besppke 12 metre bar, hand-carved from French Oak. Bespoke custom shelves and brass fittings house over 200 bottles of rare rums and rye whiskies. The space is full of custom details, including the floor in the very special conservatory. Alex literally hand drew and designed the mosaic floor, using tens of thousands of individually set Carrara and black marble tesserae, inspired by the mosaics of ancient Rome. This design will never be repeated and is completely exclusive to Kittyhawk. Part of the fun of a project like this is the research and sourcing. We were able to immerse ourselves in the era, inspired by Alex’s recent trips through New York, Paris and Barcelona, and hunting down authentic curios, posters and paraphernalia from the time.
Peter Harley, our intrepid AZB interior designer, secured some magnificent French doors, which we turned into cabinets of curiosities, filled with vignettes of 1940’s pre and post WWII artefacts and mementos, from original Morse code devices to WWII squadron hats, epaulettes and insignia; each cluster tells a story – “Kittyhawk was such a labor of love for AZBcreative. It was a true collaboration in ever sense of the word. It was really refreshing to work with a client that was so hands on with the design process and passionate about refining details as much as we are.”
Jenni Munster, AZB Style Producer sourced original hand-blocked 1940’s wallpaper for both the upper bar and the ceiling of the conservatory – “I loved working on this project, sourcing elements from WW11 that are still relevant today like the amazing William Morris wallpapers from the 40’s that still look new today. Hunting for the styling pieces to create the layers make the finishing touches to the project is always exciting and really finishes the space and brings it to life.”
For the colours, we looked to the Kittyhawk fighter planes themselves, with rich shades of navy and khaki, combined with warm walnut and oak and classic brass accents. We built an elevated banquette lounge and upholstered it in hand-dyed military khaki leather, then collected original posters and lithographs for US Bonds campaigns, framed in original 1940’s frames and hung Paris Salon style. Every time you enter this Kittyhawk, you discover a new detail as the story builds. But that’s not the end of the interior story. Often, bathrooms are little more than an after-thought. Not this time; AZB interior stylist Jaimi Lee was tasked with sourcing original Victorian, early American and vintage French coloured tiles to create a striking, layered colour stack in both the mens and women’s toilets. Check them both out, if you can!
Of course, the draw for many people will be the amazing original cocktails, based on the bar’s collection of over 200 rare rums and ryes. Leaf through the drinks menu, designed like a Kittyhawk mechanic’s manual, and you will find exclusive cocktails and delicious and innovative blends of unusual ingredients. For dining, head chef Jason Wright has put a twist on classic Parisian street food that will have you going back for more. Come and celebrate liberté, égalité and fraternité! We love Kittyhawk and we know you will too. “As a designer, it is a rare opportunity to select and curate every detail. I loved the opportunity to be so focused on the space and allowed to build in so many layers of meaning. I absolutely love this interior, and I know that every time someone enters this space, they will discover a new detail as the story builds for them”. Alex Zabotto-Bentley
Photo credit Jennifer Soo and Jason Jowett