Referencing the French aesthetic that appears effortlessly put together, yet is so carefully refined, Foolscap Studio‘s scheme for Été Restaurant at Sydney’s Barangaroo draws inspiration from a classic Provençal style but with a confident, contemporary Australian-ness.

Rustic timber beams became smooth, blonde bentwood; coiled wrought iron is coolly reinterpreted in a hand-painted wall mural inflected with a hint of 1980s brashness. Long communal tables recall farmhouse trestles, but here they’re considerately placed with vessels that act as dividers to demarcate space and create privacy for diners. Both countries’ cultural identities are inextricably tied to seasonality and landscape. At Été, which means ‘summer’ in French, the menu constantly changes to reflect the arrival and departure of the seasons, and so too does the interior décor.

Bespoke table vessels and a timber entry screen host ever-evolving produce and floral installations, while removable window decals, rotating menu covers and the seasonal illustrations within indicate the shifting nuances inside each season – just like the produce on offer from the kitchen. The space itself references seasonality year-round, with contrasting materiality working to define two distinct zones within one open space. Autumn and Winter are heralded in the rear of the dining room by a moody, warm palette of plum, burgundy and dark timber. Up the front, bright tangerine and green tones uplift light timbers and call out Spring and Summer.

The bar is framed with hand-made green ceramic tiles and clad with hand-beaten zinc, a very slight nod to old galvanised metal wash buckets that are so distinctively part of the French provincial aesthetic. “The decorative modernist lighting was handmade in France, while the steel upholstered outdoor furniture was handmade locally to our own design in a contemporary take on a recognisable, classic style,” explain the design team from Foolscap. The selection of traditional bentwood and cane Thonet indoor chairs is an homage to that style.

For the graphic elements, Foolscap worked closely with Chicago based artist John Zabawa to develop a rough hand-drawn typeface, business cards, menu illustrations and a series of artworks, including two full-height wall murals and ten paintings. The brand identity and artworks seamlessly combine with the interiors to create a holistic dining experience.


See more projects from Foolscap Studio on Yellowtrace.


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[Images courtesy of Foolscap Studio. Photography by Nikki To.]


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