A collaboration of creative architects and entrepreneurs masterfully blended heritage charm with contemporary style to deliver a new kind of hotel in Sydney’s Surry Hills. It’s the Paramount House Hotel.
It all began with the redevelopment of Paramount House after Citadin Pty Ltd, a Sydney developer, purchased the Australian Headquarters of the Paramount Picture Studios in 2007 and then its adjacent film storage warehouse in 2013. Fox Johnston was engaged to restore them, open up the interior spaces and link them in a two-storey extension.
Citadin filled the buildings with like-minded tenants, including Russell Beard and Mark Dundon's Paramount Coffee Project at the entrance, the Golden Age Cinema and Bar in the restored Art Deco screening room, Studio Spaces upstairs for creative agencies and The Office Space on the mezzanine, which offers a chic co-working hub overlooking the café. This was the beginning of a different kind of place where people could work and play.
Then came the Paramount House Hotel. Citadin, along with partners Beard and Dundon, worked with Breathe Architecture to transform two floors of the warehouse into a hotel.
But it’s no ordinary hotel.
“The hotel needed to add to the life of Paramount House and to life on the street,” says architect Jeremy McLeod, Director, Breathe Architecture.
The hotel’s striking façade is case in point.
Dazzling copper chevron-shaped tiles, reflecting the area’s art deco context, bring the two buildings together and create a screen that crowns the top two storeys and provides shade to the hotel’s indoor-outdoor balconies. “It’s a delicate jewel-like crown intended to capture the spirit and excitement of the golden era of film," Breathe Architecture explains. They’re also beautifully replicated inside, used as sleek partitions in the hotel’s reception, which sits inside the old film storage vault.
Equally important to this new kind of hotel was providing guests with absolute comfort, a “sense of place” and "something that doesn't feel generic and offers a real slice of the area,” says Beard.
The hotel’s 29 rooms offer five accommodation styles – Nook, Everyday, Sunny, Loft and Mack Daddy Suites. Some are split over two levels with floor to ceiling glass windows, and others have rooms enclosed with balconies. It’s the elegant material palette that brings Breathe Architecture’s thoughtful design to life and makes each room unique.
The design concept is instantly apparent: carefully retaining heritage elements and combining them beautifully with contemporary finishes and fittings. Original sash windows have been restored and concrete ceilings, bare walls, brick walls and original beams have been restored and left exposed, delivering raw unadorned style.
“The conceptual approach was about marrying the artefact and the ornament,” says Jeremy McLeod, Director, Breathe Architecture. “It was about expressing everything that was old — and true and honest and raw — about the existing warehouse.”
And, “to the existing brick and timber shell we brought a robust authentic palette of structural and architectural metalwork, concrete, recycled timber, locally designed tiles, textiles, fixtures and fittings,” Jeremy adds. Among these are freestanding solid, handcrafted Japanese-style timber baths, terrazzo tiled showers, open copper pipes and locally made furniture and ceramics, making a match made in heaven.
To bring the outdoors in, “suites have been designed to include an external terrace, tucked in behind the existing brick envelope or copper screen facade, to provide shade, natural ventilation and the opportunity to interact with both streetscape and climate,” Jeremy continues.
Across the terraces, and in some of the rooms, Robertson’s Buildings Products’ Ash Grey brick tiles adorn the floors to chosen as an alternative to ceramic tiles that would tie in with local material palette of textural brick as well as provide a robust floor covering to the outdoor areas.
Paramount House Hotel thoughtfully blends Golden-age heritage charm with contemporary luxury and style. It provides a seamless connection to the bustling inner-city neighbourhood and bestows its guests with every luxury and comfort you would expect in a boutique hotel, with the added bonus of feeling just like home.
Architects: Breathe Architecture
Product: Ash Grey Brick tiles
Developers: Citadin Pty Ltd
Builder: Calida Projects
Suites: Robertson's Building Products