Hall Street has welcomed Lulu Bondi, a buzzy new eatery with an interior as spirited as its pan-Asian cuisine. Conceived as the “spicy sister” to sibling venues Harrys, Raw Bar and RND and designed by Design Studio Berg+, it exudes a vibrant, youthful energy.
As designer Petra Ryberg (who’s also behind Raw Bar’s fit-out) explains, the existing shell required “softening”. Rectangular, open-plan and featuring two walls of glass, it was lacking intimacy and charm – two elements central to the cheeky Lulu brand. Thus, Petra has created a “dynamic furniture plan” with various seating options (you can perch at the bar, people watch from a central table or hideaway in the curved banquette at the back) and introduced a spatial sequence that ebbs and flows. “I like to work with contrasts,” Petra says, adding, “here, the shapes were all designed to be circular to break with the strong, rectangular shape of the existing space.”
As well as exploring how scale and volume can inform experience, Petra’s propensity for colour and materiality comes heavily into play in the success of this space. Coated almost entirely in a palette of terracotta, it’s enveloping. “I had creative license to work with a monochromic palette, and I’ve used the same terracotta colour for the ceiling and walls and brought in other shades to complement.” This dominant shade is picked up in the interesting, fragmented veining of the natural Artedomus Larosa marble which spans the bar and tabletops. In keeping with Lulu’s defining hue but with its own tonal scale, including pinks and peaches, this stone brings contrast and movement to the blocky palette. As Petra notes, “the stone is one of the most captivating features, and I really believe it elevates and helps to harmonise the space.” What’s more, as a highly durable material with a long lifespan, it holds important functional value in a commercial environment.
The palette is rounded out with natural and painted timber elements, tiles and textiles, and lighting is the proverbial cherry on top. Designed to enhance the feeling of warmth within, the considered lighting plan – which includes wall sconces, subtle ceiling fixtures and a statement freestanding floor lamp – is a reminder of the value in taking a domestic approach to lighting in a commercial context. As Petra says, “I see lighting as one of the most important features in any venue. I’m really pleased with the balance between the downlights, wall lights and feature lights – they create a golden glow inside but also from the street.”
While compact in size, Lulu Bondi packs a serious punch. And, as the group’s youngest venue, it’s no doubt been the source of much sibling rivalry, attracting beachside diners with its infectious energy and golden glow.