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Projects /International/ Quick Installations/ The Amazing Subway Lighting
The Amazing Subway Lighting

you’re on the hunt for an authentic New York brasserie, you could try the West Village or the Upper East Side. But for an atmosphere resembling New York of the 1920s, you might have to travel more than 10,000 miles from New York to Adelaide, Australia, where interior design firm Alexander & Co. has transformed Adelaide’s landmarked railway station into a romanticized version of a Manhattan-style eatery called Sean’s Kitchen.

The restaurant serves typical American fare, such as hamburgers, shucked oysters, and mac and cheese prepared by Australian chef and cooking-show host Sean Connolly. The menu, says Alexander & Co. principal Jeremy Bull, was the conceptual starting point for designing the 4,445-square-foot, multi-level space. Inspired by period film footage and photographs of Great Gatsby–era New York, he and his Sydney-based team re-created the look and feel of lamppost-lit streets for a dining experience that starts at a gleaming, brass bar at the front of the house.

One of the many lighting challenges was how to provide illumination for the tables without installing any fixtures in the barrel-vaulted ceiling of the heritage-protected former railway station, which now houses a casino in addition to the restaurant. “We could paint the ceiling,” Bull says, “but we really couldn’t do anything else to it. We [certainly] couldn’t put downlights in there.” To aid in the illumination strategy, Bull enlisted Sydney-based lighting design studio Point of View (POV) to create a lighting scheme that would evoke the feel of 1920’s New York, while meeting contemporary lighting requirements. POV designed streetlight-esque luminaires for above the banquettes, which sit in the middle of the main dining area, called “The Marketplace,” to simulate the feeling of dining al fresco on park benches. To achieve this look, POV retrofitted a decorative bronze outdoor wall fixture with a 3.2W 2700K filament-style LED lamp and two MR16 LED downlights, along a free-standing pole-style armature. The combination of the two fixture heads provides highlight and ambient light for the diners. At the seating counters overlooking the open kitchen, the lighting designers opted for a custom industrial-style ceiling mounted fixture.