It’s always been a pretty magical spot but the luxury resort The Byron at Byron underwent a six-week makeover recently and now boasts even more of an inviting, luxe residential vibe. Texture abounds with copper, wood, linen and rattan combining to imbue the space with an elegant old-world, colonial feel perfectly befitting its tropical rainforest location on the coast in Byron Bay.
“Our clients wanted to create a more intimate, residential and ‘lived in’ feel to the resort so their guests felt right at home. Our concept was to personify the “well-travelled Australian”, where guests are welcomed in a way that feels more like you’ve just stepped into a good old friend’s home – a home where they have lived for many years and have settled in nicely,” says Rachel Luchetti from Luchetti Krelle, the architectural and interior design firm responsible for the refurbishment.
Utilising the existing pavilion and the resort’s much-loved pool outlook, the designers also researched the concept of the verandah from a historical perspective. “Australians tend to use verandahs as an extension of their living space where the feeling is often more ‘interior’ than ‘exterior’ in terms of the soft furnishings,” says Rachel.
“In colonial Australia, the veranda played a vital role in people’s lives. It was a place where old wares and treasures from travels were displayed. As such, colonial features are subtly referenced throughout the design – in the feature tessellated tiles in the restaurant and the cabinet of curiosities and styling on the spa deck,” says Rachel.
There is a definite sense of the bowerbird with the interior styling – Italian furniture, European lighting from SPACE, antiques, art and curiosities all look as if they have been lovingly collected over years. “We achieved a sense of luxury with a considered curation of beautiful Italian furniture and European lighting mixed with Australian antiques, art and curiosities collected during the clients’ travels over the years,” says Rachel.
Arguably the most notable feature of the redesign is the gorgeous injection of stone and copper detailing. “The reception desk is now a monumental sandstone creation with copper trims. Attention has been paid to a new statement copper island bar that graces the restaurant whilst servicing the verandah and conference guests. There is a play on the way that copper ages here – where panels are preserved and the framing is let go and allowed to oxidise,” says Rachel.
Filled with gorgeous colours, the terracotta upholstery really grabs the eye – perhaps because it complements the copper detailing so well. “We used the beautiful natural surrounds of the resort to inform our colour palette – rich greens from the rain forest, subdued blues from the ocean and dusty pinks, reds, and teals from the eucalypt trees. We utilised colour to differentiate the numerous spaces and to evoke certain ambiences. We used a bold and darker palette in the restaurant to create a moody dining experience and a clean, bright and fresh palette on the spa deck where guests relaxed by the pool,” says Rachel.
The emerging artist, and winner of the 2015 Archibald, Julian Meagher was commissioned for the redesign too. “He was commissioned to paint a series of contemporary still life paintings featuring Australian natives which we hung along the verandahs together with some suspended double sided landscapes marking the transition from restaurant to courtyard,” says Rachel.
Photography: Michael Wee