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Brick tiles add warmth and tactile variation to the All Hands Brewing House

Red Blue brick tiles, All Hands Brewing House, Image: William Watt

What you see is what you get at the All Hands Brewing House on Sydney’s King Street Wharf. This creative design by Maddison Architects showcases a craft brewery, openly celebrating the full production side of the brewing process, from milling, to fermenting and serving in tanks. So, once inside, what you see is all the pipes leading down to where your glass is filled at the bar.

Ironically, it was the site’s challenges that essentially helped this award-winning design to evolve. The main issue being its incredibly large size, “probably too large a space for the size of the actual frontage where the terrace is, because this bar is all about the front terrace, and the outlook onto the waterfront, which is just beautiful,” Drew Carling, Director, Maddison Architects, comments.

The key question for Drew and his team was how do they best take advantage of the location given the awkwardness of the L-shaped tenancy, which stepped down into a deep, cavernous space? The answer, which now looks so effortlessly simple, lay in a combination of a deeply thoughtful design plus creative genius to maximise patron engagement, both inside and out.

“We basically created a linear expression of the brewing process, which encouraged patrons to venue further into the venue. Given that brewing is really a factory we were mindful of that and not trying to dress it up too much, but celebrate the production side of things,” Drew explains.

The whole space is a raw shell with exposed surfaces, structural columns and robust, heavy duty finishes. “All of the materials are very honest to what they are, and not trying to be anything they are not,” Drew remarks.

Take, for instance, the hard wearing Red Blue brick tiles and Grey brick tiles used extensively on the internal and external floors and the bar fronts. “We were keen on emphasising the whole notion of a cellar, and brick tiles were a product that came to mind that does just that.” Drew says. But, of course it had to be the right brick tile.

“The tiles from Robertson’s are nice and hard wearing. They have a beautiful hand quality to them and a natural warmth that comes from that, and interest and variation, which all adds to the final outcome. For us, it’s about the tactile variation that you get in those brick tiles. And there’s humbleness to it as well, that’s really important, it’s not showy. It’s just exactly what they are, and we like that too,” Drew explains.

Equally as important, the material palette also reflects the All Hands Brewing House’s maritime heritage. The unique naval architecture references once again demonstrating a well-considered design. The steel stiffening and ribbing being case in point, creating a feeling that you’re stepping down into a submarine. Or the timber wall treatments of the bars that are similar to planking using plug fixings, which is a technique you’d expect to see in traditional boatbuilding.

Not surprisingly, this superb design has won Drew and his team one award (Timber Design Awards – Winner – Excellence in the Use of Timber Products), one commendation (AIA NSW Architecture Awards – Interior Architecture) and one Shortlist (Eat Drink, Design Awards, Best Bar Design). As a long-time, trusted partner of Red Rock Leisure, we’re looking forward to seeing the next space this creative team tackles together. Whatever it is, there’s no doubt it will be another standout success, just like the All Hands Brewing House.

Developer: Red Rock Leisure

Photographer: William Watt

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