The century-old Finger Wharf is one of the defining features of Woolloomooloo, Sydney, and now the new Ovolo Hotel, which occupies its south end, has upped the architectural ante even further. Matthew Sheargold, Senior Associate at HASSELL, led the design project that transformed the existing hotel facilities into one that would appeal to a new generation. Indeed, as Matthew discussed at the KE-ZU event Connecting the Dots Vol. 1 with Matthew Sheargold on Thursday 14 July, the rise of AirBnb has spurred hoteliers to create unique experiences that challenge the conventions of hospitality and hotel design.
The Sydney hotel is the follow up to Hong Kong-based Ovolo’s Laneways hotel in Melbourne, also by HASSELL. Equally as distinctive, the design embodies the brand – young, energetic, cheeky, effortless and accessible. Indeed what was once an unwelcoming wind tunnel is now a hotel lobby that capitalises on the area’s historic foundations, harbour setting and cosmopolitan vibe.
The space is zoned to create more intimate environments that encourage guests and visitors to linger longer; lounge, bar and dining areas provide seating for people to gather, work or spend time alone. Pale timber joinery, fresh colours, warm lighting and illuminated trees are engaging and enchanting, adding atmosphere and ambience to an otherwise industrial space.
On top of that, the new Ovolo Hotel is an enviable showroom of contemporary design with the likes of Expormim’s Fontal rattan armchair designed by Oscar Tusquets; Sancal’s high-sided Rew sofa designed by Rafa Garcia; and Patricia Urquiola’s reinterpretation of the classic Windsor, the Comback chair.
The Ovolo Woolloomooloo has been designed to carry on the great tradition of the Finger Wharf as a place for the comings and goings of Sydneysiders and visitors alike. The historic wharf has seen troops ship out and new migrant ships in, and now it will see locals and tourists visit, stay, and enjoy the fresh vibe and aesthetic of the unrivalled harbourside setting.
Connecting the Dots is a series of industry discussions where Sydney’s notable architects and interior designers gather to discuss trends, current works and recently finished projects. Stay tuned for series 2 in the coming months.
Images by Nicole England