Imperial UP in Sydney, Australia / by Alexander &CO

Imperial UP is located on the upper level of the iconic Imperial Hotel in Erskineville. This project represents the relaunch of one of Australia’s most revered LGBQTI safe havens. As a cultural icon, it was the birthplace of the movie Priscilla and plays a pivotal role in the greater Sydney community as a historic theatre and event space.

The outside area features a retractable roof, golden pizza oven and stone mosaic bar featuring pop art graphics. Inside, the space hou­ses a 30-seat ‘diner’, cocktail bar, private dining room and lounge/dining area. Australia’s first same sex marriage cathedral will open on the rooftop of this space in 2019.

Conceptually, the space is conceived as an ‘Arts Social Club’. A public salon which references Studio 54 and the distant memories of Andy Warhol. Think quirky collector with an Art Deco flair – our contemporary version of Gertrude Stein’s salon.

Light and Bright with a ‘funtown Matisse’ aesthetic, the colour scheme is big and camp, with a reference to mid century Miami Art Deco. Sun bleached pinks cavort with mustards and burgundy, a wild Mardi Gras of idiosyncratic shapes, furnishings and colour.

Quirky retro collectibles include brass palm tree console, geometric brass table lamps and cross stitched fabric bucket chairs. A custom carpet inspired by the geometric avant garde and featuring pastel shades brightens and adds character to the dining room.

A 10-seat private dining room invites guest into an intimate celebration space with fringed mirrors and custom-made brass wall lights.

The irregularly shaped main bar finished in coloured laminate and mirror services the main room. Our ‘Golden Lady’, an icon repurposed from the lower floor and re-lacquered in gold sits atop the bar to suit the theme.

Historically, the upper level housed the colour, costume and character of the Drag Queen’s dressing rooms as they prepared for their evening shows. This legacy is translated into the lighthearted energy and kaleidoscopic material palette of the space.

Data Sheet

Client name: The Sydney Collective
Location: Erskineville, Sydney, Australia
Principal Architect: Jeremy Bull, Sophie Harris
Interior Design team: Larissa Raymond, Madison Faye, Lucy Forlico
Project completion date: August 2018
Photographer: Anson Smart
Editorial Stylist: Claire Delmar

About Alexander &CO.

Alexander &CO is a multidisciplinary design practice with a global reach.

Their capabilities span a broad range of typological sectors where they work in all facets of spatial and brand design. Their technical skill base includes Architecture, Interior Design, Project Management, Styling, Branding and Master Planning.

At the core of Alexander &CO’s DNA is the ambition to create timeless and market leading design. The studio provides a client journey that is focused on highly effective relationships and outcomes. Their people and culture are recognised by an empathic, social and team focused communication.

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