Being a Sydney-Sider myself this may sound bias, but one thing has to be said - we are at the forefront of food and design!
Rushcutters has just been added to the impressive list of specialised food hubs, a growing trend I like to call - Food for thought! Its no longer just about the meal that is dished up, its about the whole experience. This idea is emphasised with a capital 'L' for Local, as Rushcutters aims to support farmers from the Hawkesbury Region with the majority of produce from the menu sourced from executive chef Martin Boetz’s property, The Cooks Co-Op in the Hawkesbury region of New South Wales. Offering some insight into the produce on the plate allows patrons to participate and help support local farming communities - a wonderfully rewarding concept.
Now to the interior... what an impressive monumental mass of beauty. This heritage listed factory was rejevinated and restored back to its former glory, exposing original brickwork and revealing the 11m high ceilings that have allowed a flood of natural light to fill the space. An earthy colour palette and the use of natural materials where possible has contributed to the success of this Country sanctuary in an inner-city setting. I cant go past the bespoke dining chairs upholstered in Mulberry's 'Flying Ducks' - Total Show Stopper!
Hear what Creative Director for The Keystone Group and the mastermind behind the visual aesthetic of Rushcutters - Paul Schulte, had to say...
Tell me about the concept for Rushcutters, what has inspired and informed the design of the space?
The concept for Rushcutters as a venue was to create a total food hub for both the local community to enjoy in multiple ways and for the farmers of the Hawkesbury region to be represented and have their food showcased in an inner-city setting.
We were inspired by the idea of rejuvenation and simply restoring things back to their former glory. You can see this in the food where we hero the produce, allowing it to shine and the local farmers an opportunity to grow amongst so many larger competitors.
From a design perspective this is evident in the way we have pared back the space to reveal its grandeur, with the 11 metre ceilings and exposed brick. We have drawn on inspiration from the Cooks Co-op farm in the Hawkesbury too and have aimed to create a rustic feel in the venue by using colours close to nature such as greens and whites as well as natural materials such as spotted gum wood for the tables.
Rushcutters' vast interior is divided into a deli, restaurant and farmers market. How did you transform the space to cater for all these functions?
We were really lucky to have so much space to play with but it also presented challenges in terms of dividing the whole venue, however by a stroke of luck we did fine some beautiful old barn doors in Woollongong that allow us to divide the space in a more organic way. They also have a strong connection to Sydney and were once used on the pier at Walsh Bay.
We’ve also used greenery and plants to divide certain areas and this creates a natural balance and sense of calm in the venue.
Did the original features of this warehouse style building influence the concept?
Absolutely – I have always admired the building and knew that we had to restore the space to show off some of the most impressive and original features such as the 11 metre ceilings and the sheer size of the venue. It’s great to be able to have the Rushcutters concept housed in such a fantastic building in Sydney.
Which design element do you think has been the most successful, and has generated the most excitement?
We designed some chairs for dining room ourselves with a fabric called Mulberrys flying ducks in sand linen and it has certainly been a talking point! However I think the most successful element would be the large barn doors which almost look like they were there to begin with. The wine wall in the deli is another as it provides a real homely feeling, almost as if you can climb up the ladder and open a bottle as you would in your home, which is exactly how we want people to feel.
What do you hope customers walk away with?
Our biggest hope is that people walk away with a stronger sense of community. We want them to be able to feel as though they’ve had a real neighbourhood experience, which is often hard to find in the inner-city. We really just want people to taste the difference on every level.
Images via Rushcutters.