A modern heritage pub – Melbourne

Sitting dormant since 2017, Studio Y have transformed the original Sarah Sands Hotel site into a stunning Victorian Heritage meets modern Melbourne pub that pays homage to its original glory. Named after the SS Sarah Sands which brought the hotel’s original licensee to Australia’s shores, the site has long held a special place in the community’s heart. With a history as varied as it is colourful including being the location of an adult club in the 80s, the sense of community was central to the ethos behind the design.
While the vision was to a create a modern drinking and dining space to cater for all, the team worked with the bones of the building to retain as much of the heritage character as possible. All the beams and bricks are original, and the bar features an aged mirror, marble top and in a nod to the history, timber fins that are repetitive throughout, inspired by a boat structure. These are paired back and treated with respect as to not be taken too literal. “In terms of layout and flow of space, we wanted to maintain those bones” says Yaron Kanor, Director Studio Y. The ground floor public bar’s order of the day is details -from brass to traditional timber panelling. The floor also features an intimate 38-seat dining room and a stunning 20-seated private dining room. Walnut timber is showcased throughout creating delightful textures and patterns.
The first floor features an inviting enclosed courtyard that was designed to be enjoyed throughout the seasons. Also on the floor is a second private dining room and a light-filled atrium featuring a mural by Loretta Lizzio. Studio Y collaborated with Scanlan & Makers, to paint the heritage rendered walls, taking the bold decision to make them a focus of the space.
The design team also worked intimately with lighting consultants ambience to create varied custom lighting features across the space, including gorgeous glass on glass sconces in the bathrooms. Another feature is the custom acoustic ceiling made from timber “It makes it feel moody, and there’s something about good acoustic characteristics in a space. It createsa level of warmth by sound alone.” adds Kanor.

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