Ever wondered how we came up with the incredibly Instagrammable terrariums in our G&Tea Bar? Or marvelled at the incredible water feature welcoming VIP guests to Sovereign? The Star’s group design manager Lisa Zelinger explains how her team creates the spaces you want to spend time in.
When The Star Sydney unveiled the $250 million redesign of its ultra-exclusive Sovereign for VIP guests, many were surprised to find a space that brought the outdoors in through lush secret gardens, floor-to-ceiling windows and harbour views.
“I think people expect the interiors of gaming rooms to be quite dark and disorienting, and that was certainly the trend in the past” – Lisa Zelinger
We speak with Lisa Zelinger who heads up the design across The Star’s three properties in Sydney, Brisbane and Gold Coast – “Part of my job is to ensure our design strategy reflects the spirit of the local area, and in Sydney that means light and playfulness and embracing that indoor/outdoor lifestyle.”
Embracing Sydney style in Sovereign
Sovereign’s design draws on both local and international influences in art, culture and design. Feng Shui was key to the layout of the space and also inspired the design of the water feature, which represents luck and optimism and is strategically placed in the entry to inspire positive energy in the room.
“Feng Shui is important to some of our guests and we worked with several Feng Shui masters to achieve a really balanced approach to its philosophy.”
A palette of light and neutral tones was also key to reflecting the local aesthetic, with feature columns ornately carved from Sydney sandstone and floor-to-ceiling windows framing iconic views of the harbour and the city skyline.
Sydney’s botanic gardens also inspired the landscaping of Sovereign outdoor spaces, a combination of Australian natives and international species chosen for their diversity.
Transforming G&Tea into a ‘destination’ bar
Lisa and her team took a similar approach to selecting plants for the incredible floating terrariums that helped transformed the G&Tea concept from a standard lobby bar into an all-day destination worthy of your Instagram feed.
“We knew G&Tea needed to be a destination bar because of its discreet location and the way to do that is to make a memorable aesthetic statement,” she explains.
“We chose bold colours and brought the outdoors in using a giant screen ‘window’ displaying a digital artwork of landscapes and, of course, the terrariums were a big part of achieving that ‘wow factor’.”
Standing out against a backdrop of turquoise walls and art deco-inspired furniture, the giant glass orbs were filled with a diverse selection of preserved plants, which can exist in their own microclimate for up to 20 years.
“A lot of people asked me why we weren’t just using fresh flowers, but to me these terrariums represent a futuristic view of landscaping and indoor gardens.
“Plants will become so precious that we will need to preserve them and capture their beauty for their future. The design celebrates the wonder and preciousness of nature.”
High tea holds all-day appeal
G&Tea’s high-end tea experience is also proving a drawcard for guests. The cabinet behind the bar showcases a range of teas during the day and then spirits at night, and it has become something of a ritual for staff to make the switch every evening at 5pm.
“Tea bars in Asia are huge, and I thought this was a good opportunity to explore that concept here,” Lisa says.
“As a designer my aim is strive to create unique experiences that people connect with and take away with them as memories.”