Sydney’s Pier One – a dawn to dusk lighting design

When BATES SMART took on the job of revamping PIER ONE Gantry Restaurant and Bar, located on one of Sydney’s oldest piers, they knew that lighting would play a crucial role in the design. Light Project was very happy to be involved in creating the perfect atmosphere for this luxury location.

Bates Smart was engaged to create an authentic experience that resonated with the architecture and the heritage of the site. “It’s one of the oldest piers in Sydney and the materiality that goes with that certainly led to our material choices for the interior,” explains Brenton Smith, studio director at Bates Smart.

The space features textured solid timber floorboards and a custom-designed bar with a striking Axolotl zinc-finished top, which counters the polished Calacutta Oro marble front. The lighting highlights the design features and creates a warm, intimate atmosphere.

Bates Smart worked with Electrolight to ensure the lighting not only suited the location but also created the sense of intimacy required for a restaurant and bar. “If the lighting is wrong, people subconsciously don’t go back,” says Brenton. “The lighting can feel too cool, or make you feel too exposed [for example]. It’s an integral part of the overall design brief.”

Donn Salisbury, director of Electrolight, sought to create the kind of lighting that would enhance the space during breakfast, lunch and throughout the evening. “We looked at how the natural light affected the space during the day and how we could enhance that. We also needed to consider how we could make all the materials sing.”

Electrolight was also successful with this goal. They have lit the space to complement and enhance the elegant design. They have also created their own distinctive design additions, with pendants called Squelette, which is French for skeleton, that reference the hull of a boat.

The lighting at Pier One creates an inviting, intimate atmosphere while also referencing the distinct character of the surrounding harbour. Light Project are thrilled to have helped bring this beautiful Sydney pier-side space to life.

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Photography: Rohan Venn