Conrad Gargett worked with The University of Queensland for the design of new restaurant Patina at the heritage-listed Customs House in Queen Street Brisbane. Patina restaurant, housed on the River Level of Customs House, recently underwent a complete refurbishment to be relaunched as an elegant new Brisbane riverside dining destination.

Principal of Conrad Gargett and Heritage Architect David Gole reflected on the design approach, “that the Bond Store and other spaces on the River Level of Customs House, which now house Patina, were originally simple, utilitarian and undecorated spaces. This was unlike the public spaces at the upper levels, such as the Long Room, which were highly ornamented reflecting the importance of the collection customs duties. The idea for Patina was to express the original simplicity of the spaces, while adding carefully orchestrated layers of new finishes to create a warm, rich and elegant dining experience. These new layers are intended to be completely reversible in accordance with best conservation practice and philosophy”.

Customs House Director Brian Roberts detailed, “The project brief was to launch a new dining destination that was warm, modern and sophisticated. Conrad Gargett understood our vision, however developed our ideas further to take it to the next level to create Patina at Customs House. The practice crafted a distinctive design that was captivating and highlighted the heritage aspects of the historic building”.

“The new restaurant offers a series of welcoming bar seating clusters together with a rich interior dining room experience and open outdoor river terrace dining with expansive Story Bridge views. The outdoor dining space was reimagined with a series of banquet seats, planters and new roof awning used to define edges and create a softer and human scaled outdoor dining room with the three storey customs house as a dramatic backdrop. The internal dining room is arranged more formally with a dramatic central feature light to unify the space and add warmth and richness to the otherwise simple space. The interior palette includes muted blues, greens and gold making subtle reference to the patinated Copper dome roof over the long room above as well as the brass and bronze details within other parts of the building,” Gole detailed.

Roberts highlighted, “Aesthetically the bespoke lighting feature is a work of art and takes our guests’ breaths away. The addition of planters and banquettes has softened the terrace and created an environment that encourages leisurely dining experiences by the river.” Patina at Customs House hosts seating for 50 patrons inside, with an additional 70 patrons on the terrace overlooking the Brisbane River, with crafted dining and bar menus as distinctive as the space itself, delivering the best produce our region has to offer valued patrons.

Roberts graciously stated, “I have worked with the Conrad Gargett team including David Gole for the past 20 years and hope to work with their practice on many more projects in the future.” Brisbane Customs House, completed in 1889, is owned and operated by The University of Queensland and is listed on the Queensland Heritage Register and the Register of the National Estate.
Conrad Gargett is proud to collaborate with our clients to create and deliver expressive, unique and functional places for people that incorporates original, imaginative and informed interior design solutions for all property sectors.

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