Inspired by 1940’s Paris, new Sydney bar Kittyhawk boasts some pretty jaw-dropping interiors designed by Alex Zabotto-Bentley and his team at AZBcreative. “We wanted to design an interior that captured the elegance of an authentic French fin de siècle bar and brasserie, with the swagger and vitality of the American GIs at the end of World War II. The story starts in 1944, with the liberation of Paris – the whole city was out on the streets celebrating, dancing and drinking Champagne with the American troops who had brought them freedom,” says Alex.
The venue was not only named after the iconic Kittyhawk fighter plane, a key player in WWII, but the interior was inspired by it too. “The original Kittyhawk planes inspired much of the colour palette, like the hand-dyed khaki leather booths and a private space lined with antique mirrors, called (what else?!) the Cockpit,” says Alex. Specialising in rum and rye, the masculine space is home to authentic WWII artefacts too, making it a must-visit for history buffs – think original Morse code devices, WWII squadron hats, epaulettes and insignia.
“We spent an incredible amount of time researching and sourcing most elements that fit within our design. In this case actual liberation, army bond and exhibition posters from 1938, through to original décor items reflecting the period, cigar boxes, 1940’s telephones, books and magazines printed in WWII. We also sourced elegant balloon-back dining chairs of the period re-upholstered in fabrics of the time. We definitely threw ourselves into the project!” says Alex.
From tiles to wallpaper, the bar in Phillip Lane boasts some amazing original design elements. “Jenni Munster, AZBcreative’s style producer, sourced original hand-blocked 1940’s wallpaper, for both the upper bar and the ceiling of the conservatory, that adds an extra layer of meaning and richness to the space. And the bathrooms, often neglected in interior projects, are amazing!” says Alex. Adorned with original Victorian, early American and vintage French coloured tiles, we agree wholeheartedly – we love the stacks of colour-blocked tiles in particular.
And while on the topic of tiles, another design element that caught our eye was the gorgeous mosaic floor that lines the conservatory. “I am always inspired by history and my roots in classical tradition so I drew inspiration from the mosaics of ancient Rome, where mosaics were more organic. I hand drew and designed the mosaic floor and we used tens of thousands of individually set Carrara and black marble tesserae. This design will never be repeated and is completely exclusive to Kittyhawk. It’s the kind of detail that sets this project apart as a venue that is destined to become a beloved Sydney classic,” says Alex.
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