Halfway between Sydney and Brisbane, at the junction of the New England Highway and Waterfall Way, is the regional city of Armidale. Located in the Northern Tablelands of New South Wales, it is well known across Australia for its close proximity to forests, mountain gorges, national parks, and waterfalls – Wollomombi Falls is just 38 kilometres due east. Not to mention its impressive Anglican and Catholic cathedrals.
But now there is another reason to visit – and stay a while. Sydney-based design practice, Luchetti Krelle has recently completed the extensive restoration and rejuvenation of a heritage pub built in 1854 in the traditional Victorian style. In the 1930s The Tattersalls Hotel underwent an Art Deco transformation, but wasn’t touched again until Stuart Krelle and his team were invited to re-think the iconic building.
Known for its meticulous attention to detail, respect for the brief, and desire to fully understand site and context, Luchetti Krelle has gained special recognition for their work in the hospitality sphere. M&G Cafe and Bar was shortlisted in The Social Space category in the 2018 INDE.Awards, while six projects were shortlisted in the global Restaurant & Bar Design Awards in 2019. Of the six, Saké Manly was a winner.
It comes as no surprise then that the client sought out the award-winning firm. Nor was is a surprise that the design team paid particular attention to the conservation of the external façade and restoration of historic internal features such as original curves and solid timber details, a glass skylight and pressed metal ceilings that characterised The Tattersalls Hotel.
Three floors were carefully gutted to make room for an additional 25 guest rooms on the upper levels and common lounge areas. Open to all is a public bar, casual dining area, a main dining room, rear courtyard, multi-purpose room and gaming parlour.
In both the public and private spaces there are myriad references to the iconic arches of the art deco period through doorways and entry passages, door handles and hardware, bedheads, mirrors in the bathrooms, decorative finishes and even the rounded furniture forms – both inbuilt and freestanding. In the main dining area there are custom leather banquettes with fluted timber detailing.
The interior colour and material palette is a nod to Armadale’s gold rush heyday featuring garnet, sapphire and diamond blues, burnt orange, silk, velvet, copper, glass and dark timber. Oak parquetry lines the function room floors, fluted glass leads the way to the VIP lounge, and a backlit brass and glass chevron pattern animates the marble and travertine public bar.
The tonal palette in the bedrooms is far more subdued, embracing gentler hues of dusty sage green, antique rose, and apricot. The geometric pattern play of the carpet – muted in the bedrooms, daring in dining room and bar – are the result of collaboration with Brintons Carpets.
The Tattersalls Hotel observes a successful balance drawing on the building’s history without dwelling there. There’s a sense of the opulence and indulgence that marred the 1930s but it exists without offending the current sentiment of anti-waste, anti-excess.
Photography by Tom Ferguson
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