Imperial Hotel Sydney – spirit of the Queen of the desert

Imperial Hotel Sydney 46228-preview_low_2887-6_46228_sc_v2com

Can you capture the spirit of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, in a three-story building? The answer is ‘yes’ and it is called the Imperial Hotel Erskineville in Sydney, Australia. The 1983 national treasure of the LGBQTI community used to be a safe haven and is now, newly face-lifted and refurbished, a place of pleasure for this community.  Imperial Hotel Sydney 46207-preview_low_2887-5_46207_sc_v2comThe historic theatre, event space, and birthplace of the idea for Priscilla, an iconic movie, was recently re-engineered by Alexander and Co. The multidisciplinary design practice that captures architecture, interior design, project management, styling, branding, and master planning in one go, reimagined the Imperial Hotel as a place to celebrate, discover, and respect diversities and differences.  Imperial Hotel Sydney 46211-preview_low_2887-5_46211_sc_v2comThe mix between solid building materials including brickwork, concrete, steel, and the colorful furnishing, interiors, and decors revive the cultural place and elevate it to a new level.   Imperial Hotel Sydney 46204-preview_low_2887-5_46204_sc_v2comThe 250-seat ‘Priscillas’ restaurant on the ground floor serves mostly plant-based dishes with the occasional meat option thrown in. While the old stage had to give room to more tables, a small stage is still offering space for drag shows and performances to entertain guests and to enhance the dining experience.   Imperial Hotel Sydney 46215-preview_low_2887-5_46215_sc_v2comThe design of the main room is a mix of seemingly random placed stone floor tiles and timber work framed by skylights and steel-rimmed windows that cast interesting shadows into the space.  Imperial Hotel Sydney 46218-preview_low_2887-6_46218_sc_v2comThe open kitchen, inner courtyard, and winter garden give the Imperial Hotel a new, modern look and include repurposed lampshades, chandeliers, and paper sculptures.   Imperial Hotel Sydney 46226-preview_low_2887-6_46226_sc_v2comNot a tad less quirky is the upstairs. The Imperial UP, the upper-level pizzeria and bar, centers around the golden pizza oven. The retractable roof and stone mosaics in pop art graphics – all in vivid colors – sum up the concept of an ‘Arts Social Club’ not un-similar to Studio 54, Andy Warhol’s creations of popular Art Deco or Gertrude Stein’s poetry and art collections.  Imperial Hotel Sydney 46222-preview_low_2887-6_46222_sc_v2comHistorically the inside space was the changing rooms of the Drag Queens. The mirrors, custom-made brass, lights, and play with shadows still remind guests of the 10-seat private dining room of that era. The color scheme in sun-bleached pinks, mustards, and burgundy carries the energy of earlier times.  Imperial Hotel Sydney 46221-preview_low_2887-6_46221_sc_v2comThe contemporary bohemian rooftop is also the home of the Frida Las Vegas gallery and will become the location of the first Australian same-sex marriage cathedral in 2019.   Imperial Hotel Sydney 46219-preview_low_2887-6_46219_sc_v2comThe spirit and design of the Imperial Hotel make it certainly a place not to miss while visiting Sydney. And getting some great plant-based foods is a treat to add on. We would opt this as a ‘must-see’ place.   Imperial Hotel Sydney 46214-preview_low_2887-5_46214_sc_v2comHave a look at other brilliant lights in Sydney and join the design conversation with Scott Weston.   Imperial Hotel Sydney 46217-preview_low_2887-6_46217_sc_v2com

Source: photos of Imperial Hotel and Imperial UP are courtesy of v2com. Photographs are by Anron Smart.

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