THE ITALIAN LANEWAY REDISCOVERED
Overlooking the Brisbane River from the podium of the new W Hotel, along Brisbane’s North Quay, this exciting new Italian restaurant creates a unique, raw Italian environment inspired by the authentic Italian laneway that sets this restaurant apart from all other offerings in Brisbane.
Persone brings about discovery and intrigue to this riverside venue. The thoughtful design creates a space of tapered light, paired with a little grit, to become a moody and memorable space that inspires feelings of curiosity and comfort.
The restaurant seats 210 diners, along with a 12-person private dining room with wine cellar and an outdoor terrace bar with lounge and dining. It appeals to the larger and broader demographic of Brisbane establishing itself as a place to enjoy artisan drinks paired with modern Italian cuisine.
Persone Bar and Restaurant was shortlisted in the 2019 Australian Interior Design Awards, the 2019 Eat Drink Design Awards, and the 2019 Interior Design Excellence Awards.
Client: Gambaro Group
What was the brief?
The design brief received from the client was succinct. They requested a space that was equally edgy (‘New Italian’) and comfortable (yet not precious) with a little bit of grit in the design. The overall aesthetic desired was moody and atmospheric – emotion and feeling to be portrayed through lighting and fine details. The client wanted a space that would appeal to the broader demographic of potential diners.
The design team’s creative concept and design philosophy for Persone ultimately centered around expressing and replicating the unique feeling one may experience walking the streets of Italy, namely the quintessential Italian laneways. They were inspired by the sense of discovery one feels lazily strolling these laneways – enjoying the variety of textures, colours, history and the pockets of dining and entertainment found along the way. The designers embraced the idea of creating a focused journey that opens onto a space of celebration, or Italian piazza.
Reinforcing the concept as a modern interpretation of the historic Italian street, the palette used throughout was carefully considered. Paying homage to the historic Italian facades are the textured stucco walls and signage which are lit with bespoke globe lights inspired by streetlamps. Embracing the highly crafted ironwork often seen in Italian alleyway balconies, curved metal screens guide patrons through the space. The play of light and shadow in the main dining area wrapped in vertical mirrors elevates the dining experience, giving each seat an incredible river view and a lasting connection to Brisbane’s nightlife.
How is the project unique?
The design process began with an in-depth visioning session with the client where the design team were able to extract the key words and emotions that the client wanted to create a feel for the space and what they wanted their patrons to feel. Through extracting the key words – for example, ‘relaxed, yet refined’, ‘authentic experience’ – the design team were able to develop the palette and use their designs to tailor the overall guest journey throughout the space.
The design focused closely on exalting the diners experience when visiting Persone. Incorporating luxe, high quality finishes and details throughout each area and capitalizing on the river views wherever possible. This was achieved through the clever use of reflective surfaces throughout the space and the overall layout and setting of the main dining area.
Located in central Brisbane and offering exceptional views of the surrounding city scape and the Brisbane River, the interior design of Persone is designed to be wholly complementary of the restaurant’s enviable physical location – seamlessly weaving the Italian laneway concept whilst also simultaneously never losing reference of the restaurant’s Queensland location. The views alone make the restaurant a stand out in the Brisbane restaurant scene. The irregular footprint of the space was challenging but ultimately offered fantastic opportunities to create a truly unique space which met the fundamental concept of being reminiscent of Italian laneways.
The mixture of authentic Italian concepts alongside a modern interpretation ensure the design is truly exemplary. Juxtaposed materials (terrazzo, textured rendered walls, metal screening, plush velvet, handmade ceramic tiles, raw concrete and timber) lend themselves to the mix of concepts yet all work effortlessly with each other throughout the space.
As well as offering interior design services to the client, the project design team also provided a completely new brand and concept for the client. The designers provided a new logo design and brand concept design which complemented the newly designed space. The idea was to position this particular property apart from the client’s existing ventures – creating an edgy, modern space with a certain amount of grit that creates a comfortable, welcoming feel.