Frette x Dimorestudio

London's Mayfair has just had an injection of modern Italian style at the new Frette store in South Audley Street. The Fizz says molto bene!


Emiliano Salci and Britt Moran of Milanese design studio Dimorestudio have brought the glamour and sophistication of a sleek Italian palazzo to the new Frette store in London’s Mayfair.

Opulent materials such as Marquina marble, emerald green glass and brushed brass create a stylish space to showcase Frette’s new Autumn Winter collections of luxury bed, bath and table linens, and nightwear. We’re particularly loving the beautiful duck egg blue walls, the colour-zoned floors and the elegant illuminated stairwell which features black glazed metal set on opal white glass. If you feel the need to take a pew, classic designs including Gerrit Rietveld's 'Utrecht' armchair and Charlotte Perriand's 'LC7' chair for Cassina are dotted around too. 

ABOVE: Glossy dark blue cabinets with brushed brass handles, full height sliding panels and clever lighting are just some of the luxe details in Frette's new London showroom
BELOW: Black marble and polished concrete is used to great effect. We love the change of colour in the floors to mark out different zones 

ABOVE: Incorporating emerald green and opal white glass, black metal, concrete and steel, the illuminated stairwell is a masterful mix of materials 

To mark the opening of the new Mayfair boutique, Brit designer Ashley Hicks has collaborated with Frette on a new range of embroidered geometric bed linen that will be exclusive to the store and available online in the UK. If you’re in the market for something more bespoke, head down to the lower ground floor where you can add your own touches to any item from Frette’s collections. 

Dimorestudio has pulled out all the design stops here, so much so that we just want to bed down and snuggle up for the night. Zzz...

Frank Gehry's Sydney showstopper

Architect Frank Gehry's first Australian building puts the beauty into brick and makes wonky angles work wonders 


Here at the Fizz we weren’t sure if we’d like Frank Gehry’s first Australian architectural offering. Described as looking like a ‘crumpled paper bag’, the new Dr Chau Chak Wing Building, home to Sydney’s UTS Business School in Ultimo, provoked the usual flurry of divided critical opinion when it was unveiled this February. Standing in front of the university’s striking new edifice, though, on a crisp, blue-sky day, we felt an unfamiliar emotion. Brick lust.

Another brick in the wall
Rarely has brick looked so beautiful. Gehry Partners' team has used around 320,000 custom-made pale-coloured bricks, which reference Sydney’s elemental sandstone heritage. We loved the way the five different brick types have been staggered in sweeping, undulating relief to create a textured, layered, lyrical feel. Achieving this fluid, curved surface on the east-facing facades required corbelling (stepping) bricks to express the building’s organic form. Hand-laid on reinforcing panels, individual bricks jut out to catch the play of light. It’s a subtle yet stellar look.

'The idea of using brick was part of the community here,' says Canadian-American starchitect Gehry, who admires Sydney’s humane 19th-century high-rises. 'Creating a sense of movement to replace decoration is a primitive one, actually. It comes from the fold.'

TOP: Sydney's Dr Chau Chak Wing Building rising above Ultimo
ABOVE RIGHT: The curvy, tessellated surface of brick and angled glass
BELOW: Five, custom-made brick types form the textured exterior


Cubist angles
Ah, those Cubist artists would love Gehry’s signature radical geometry, which gives the building’s different modules a fantastical, disjointed Dr. Seuss appearance, with blocks piled upon blocks at jaunty angles. Inspired by treehouses, Gehry wanted his creation to be a ‘growing learning organism with many branches of thought, some robust and some ephemeral and delicate.’

Windows to the world
We also liked the multiple, deep-framed windows on the exterior, which are often sited quite close to one another, yet reflect wildly different views. Due to their alternating angles, you might see a tree reflected in one, a wall in another, a nearby edifice in a third and the sky in a fourth. It’s a cornucopia of vistas that keeps the experience of looking at the building dynamic and ever-changing. A vertiginous glass ‘curtain wall’ on the west-facing aspect is another dramatic detail, dropping down the building like a crumpled shard, providing a ‘waterfall’ of clashing reflections.


ABOVE: A vertical 'curtain wall' of glass reflects the environment
BELOW, CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Deep, angled windows capture multiple views of the surrounds

Cocooning classrooms and cloud nine
Two oval classrooms add form to the ground-floor atrium void, constructed from around 150 chunky, glue-laminated radiata pine beams from New Zealand. They also feature the world’s longest timber-concrete composite floor. Their intimate log cabin vibe and oval tables are intended to bring people together, with smaller classrooms and more flexible, open-plan spaces encouraging creative learning. Acrylic cloud-shaped pendant lights in the lower public areas and cafés bring papery textures to the interiors, and are a whimsical reminder of the sky. Let’s hope our invite to a party on one of the lofty terraces is in the post…

BELOW: Oval classrooms are a cocoon of warm wood

Eco smart
Ticking eco-friendly boxes, the building has a five-star Green Star Design rating, using sustainable timber, energy-efficient air-con and harvested rainwater in a roof-top tank for use in toilets and irrigation. There are also 160 bicycle parking spaces in the basement, along with showers, lockers and changing areas, to encourage cycling (compared to just 20 car spots).

Space-age stairways
Dominating the main lobby, a polished, jagged stainless-steel staircase forms a sculptural focus point, typical of Gehry’s space-age style. Manufactured by Queensland's Urban Art Projects, it’s intended to encourage flexible interaction of people and ideas. There are 12 storeys above ground, and 14 in total. Another stairway, made of Victorian ash, wraps around an oval classroom on level 3, linking to a student lounge above. Cocooning just got contemporary.

ABOVE: Sculptural staircases include a stainless-steel lobby head-turner 

Cultural ribbon
Named after the Australian-Chinese businessman and philanthropist who donated $20 million to the project, the landmark Dr Chau Chak Wing Building is bounded by Ultimo Road, Mary Ann Street and Omnibus Lane in Ultimo, rearing over nearby Chinatown. An entrance is also planned from The Goods Line, a pedestrian thoroughfare similar to The High Line in Manhattan, currently being developed by Aspect Studios as an urban space. Sydney’s newest icon will also form part of the ‘Cultural Ribbon’, a foreshore walk which will run from the Australian Museum, Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Opera House to the design-focussed Powerhouse Museum at the southern end of the city via Barangaroo and Darling Harbour’s Maritime Museum.

Crumpled paper bag? We consider it a compliment. 

Pictures: Sophie Davies, Andrew Worssam 

Wonderland: The Fat Duck Down Under

When Heston Blumenthal's The Fat Duck waddled down under foodies were aflutter. The Fizz just wanted to know what interiors the wacky wizard would serve up...


It was the talk of the southern hemisphere. When news broke that culinary Willy Wonka Heston Blumenthal was bringing his megahit British restaurant The Fat Duck – and its entire staff – from Bray to Melbourne’s Crown this February for a six-month stint, foodies were beside themselves. The UK restaurant was being refurbished, hence its Australian ‘holiday’. More than 250,000 fans across the Asia-Pacific vied in a ballot for coveted golden tickets; 14,000 got lucky.

Naturally, the 15-course, four-and-a-half-hour tasting menu at The Fat Duck Melbourne is the stuff of magic (for AU$525 a head, minus the booze bill, you’d expect bangs and whistles). But does the look of the space give the courses on the plate a run for their money? Despite the mainstream location (the Crown complex sports a garish casino alongside A-List eateries), local design studio Bates Smart and London innovation agency Seymourpowell dished up enough theatre to satisfy our appetite. Here are our tasty style highlights…

Like disappearing down a rabbit hole, guests enter the third-floor space to discover a world of typically Heston whimsy and surprise. A long, sultry tunnel beckons at the entry, illuminated at the end by what looks like a tiny door, yet turns out to be a flickering screen showing chefs at work behind the scenes. The sloping ramp creates the optical illusion of guests becoming larger, as the corridor gets smaller. A huge black glass sliding door then opens to reveal a sexily lit, dark-walled dining room, playing on chiaroscuro – bold contrasts between light and darkness.

Main course
Seating 50, the chic yet restrained dining room boasts spot-lit white leather booths, crisp-clothed tables, purple velvet chairs, plush carpet and inky lacquered panelling. Tables for two overlook the Yarra River, with wow-worthy views through angled floor-to-ceiling windows. The footprint is much bigger than Bray, with more kitchen fire power. Despite being a temporary pop-up, its ‘opulent but calm and relaxed’ feel was a hit with Heston, who also reckoned the lighting (by Melbourne firm Electrolight) was the best he’d seen in a restaurant.

TOP: The giant interactive jigsaw, starring culinary superhero Heston
ABOVE RIGHT: Mr B beside the wacky wall-mounted fob watch
BELOW FROM LEFT: Signature Duck dishes: Jelly of Quail, Marron Cream with oak moss; Mad Hatter's Tea Party with mock turtle soup; multi-sensory Sound of the Sea

A surreal, Daliesque golden fob watch mounted on the wall counts down the days until the last of the 280 services on 15 August 2015, before the hands freeze and the Fat Duck flies home. It also tells you the time in Bray and Melbourne, and will return to Bray as a souvenir. Its inspiration was the Mad Hatter’s fob watch, which connects with the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party dish on the menu (diners dip an edible fob watch into the mock turtle soup to mimic Lewis Carroll’s famous story).

A giant, eight by two metre interactive jigsaw takes pride of place on the main wall, bearing an image of a caped Heston in galaxy-print trousers, looking for all the world like a North Korean propaganda hero. In a playful touch, all diners receive a piece of the jigsaw to add to the picture, which will only be completed by the last guest. At 19,500 pieces it could be the world’s biggest jigsaw, according to Heston, who maintains it wasn’t his idea to take such a starring role!

Palate cleanser
We love the flock of clear glass terrariums, filled with sculptural, spidery-shaped plants, which line the glossy, black window ledge. A mix of bell jars, bendy tubes, bottles and squatter vessels in various sizes, they’re a stylist’s dream. Running the length of the room, the laboratory-chic urban garden affords peek-a-boo vistas of Melbourne's cityscape. Glass pieces and other art works are also on loan from David Walsh, owner of Hobart’s dramatic MONA (Museum of Old and New Art).

ABOVE: Terrariums on the window ledge reveal curious, alien vegetation
BELOW: Elegant yet theatrical, interiors play on bold contrasts of light and dark

Digestif? Following the return of The Fat Duck to Bray in late September, Dinner By Heston Blumenthal will take up permanent residence at the Crown Melbourne – inspired by the London original, and the only Heston restaurant outside the UK. Reservations aren’t yet open, but expect to form a disorderly queue…

The Fat Duck, Level 3, Crown Towers, 8 Whiteman Street, Southbank, Melbourne