Art Deco Affability – The Woollahra Hotel by Richards Stanisich

Words by Millie Thwaites
Architecture by Richards Stanisich
Photography by Felix Forest
Build by Xant
The Woollahra Hotel By Richards Stanisich Issue 09 Feature The Local Project Image (3)

Art deco buildings – with their stylised decorative elements and geometry so pleasing to the eye – are beloved by many. But nearly a century of use and half-baked renovations means these gems are often in need of a hand to return to their former glory. One such building is The Woollahra Hotel. Following a refurbishment led by interior design and architecture practice Richards Stanisich, the establishment returns as a modern-day pub delightfully true to its art deco bones.

Originally built in the 1930s and designed by architect Cyril Ruwald, the building is an important part of the area’s architectural history. Richards Stanisich has respected this fact, upholding the building’s original features and complementing the existing through the new. In reconfiguring the layout to introduce three new bars and improving the pub’s relationship to the street with new steel-framed operable glazing and high gloss teal facade tiles, The Woollahra Hotel exudes a newfound confidence and appeal.

Originally built in the 1930s and designed by architect Cyril Ruwald, the building is an important part of the area’s architectural history.

Inside, the architects have created a richly detailed yet inviting space that channels the classic Australian pub through materiality and tone. A muted colour palette of ochre, brown and dusty pink coats the space alongside tiled walls and polished timber, and the floor – terrazzo in some spaces, carpet in others – features art deco motifs. Overall, it recalls the simplicity and romance of another time.

There is both intimacy and openness here; you could breeze in for a quick drink at the high tables by the windows or gather with a group of friends for hours in a booth. Either option is on the cards, as is an outing to the venue’s iconic restaurant Bistro Moncur, which thankfully remains next door.

The Woollahra Hotel truly encapsulates the spirit of the classic Australian pub with familiarity and ease. The design, which is unstuffy but beautifully done, is sure to play a part in this pub’s ongoing legacy.