At first glance, you might think a UFO had landed smack dab in the middle of Barangaroo—a massive glass-and-steel development bringing luxury condos, offices, retail, and restaurants to a formerly forlorn portion of Darling Harbour—but Barangaroo House is merely the latest conquest from acclaimed chef Matt Moran. Award-winning local architects Collins and Turner collaborated with H&E Architects on the design, a freestanding building that resembles three stacked fedoras, working in tandem with Solotel, the hospitality group behind some of Sydney’s most coveted restaurants, bars, and hotels.
For the interiors, Solotel turned to up-and-coming Studio Etic, founded by French designer Emilie Delalande, whose portfolio includes hot spots Coogee Pavilion and the Paddington. Three distinct venues connected by a sculptural staircase get progressively sophisticated the higher you ascend: On the street level, House Bar serves chicken and lamb off the spit; the second-floor Bea showcases brasserie dishes with a range of Australian ingredients; and the rooftop bar Smoke supplements champagne-driven drinks with a well-sourced caviar menu. Materials like tallowwood, brass, marble, leather, and porcelain lend a polished yet natural aesthetic to the high-flying architecture. In the eyes of Solotel’s creative director Anna Solomon, the project isn’t so much extraterrestrial as it is earthbound. “We took a very holistic approach and actually likened it to building a tree, in that the ground floor was the roots, all the way up to the rooftop as the canopy.”