Macquarie Bank Private Cafe

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Working as a photographer I’ve become more aware of ways of using natural light in interior design.  I’ll group clusters of seats near windows - knowing that people will gravitate towards them. The Macquarie Group private cafe in Number One Martin Place was a challenge in that it was completely internal.   The trick was to work with pools of light to create intimacy and mystery – turning it into a haven from the fluoro lit world of corporate life.

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I wanted the space to be luscious and exciting: bringing in a massive silk patterned curtain, an oversupply of plants, leather lounges & rustic touches. I had large moveable screens made of honeyed golden timber, with vertical slats to provide glimpses of the cafe behind. On the reverse side, an embossed jungle wallpaper came to represent the mood of the whole cafe. A cushion I hand embroidered -  “Hope and Anchor” placed prominent in the entry seating area.

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I was the interior stylist on this job and there was a wonderful rawness to the inherited elements: the bar made out of blocks of concrete dug out of the building’s renovation, the exposed ceiling with massive silver air conditioning ducts. Great to be able to play with the juxtaposition of the rough and the smooth. The warehouse style windows designed for The Postmaster Cafe, also for Macquarie Bank, lined the far wall – lit by an artificial glow.

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Music works well in this space. Leaving behind a record player and some records, I later heard of a vinyl night where people bought in some of their own to play and share. Often when doing a job there’ll be a key early purchase that becomes symbolic of the whole design. In this instance it was a vintage poster of Bob Dylan: him in silhouette, his hair flames of psychedelic creativity. He resides there now, his silent spirit infusing the space.

Ingrid Weir