Colourful Hospitality on the Gold Coast

Alexander & Co., a team of architects, interior designers, and furniture makers, is one of our favourite firms operating Down Under. The Sydney-based firm dazzled us with their elegant transformation of the iconic Imperial Hotel Erskineville and the underwater-inspired Sean Connolly at the Dubai Opera. While very different projects, both feature an underlying appreciation for fine art; from installation and sculpture to paintings and fresco-style ceilings, the firm loves to enhance a project with eye-catching works of art. Another Alexander & Co. signature? An exacting use of colour. 

This pavilion on Australia’s Gold Coast is a prime example of the firm at its best. 

Located in a metropolitan area south of Brisbane, Burleigh Pavilion has become an important fixture of the local ecology. Australia’s oceanfront pavilions play a key role in the country’s lifestyle; surfing and beach culture make Australia’s vast coastlines a hub of activity. Prior to 1903, attitudes surrounding morality and decency had enforced a ban on swimming during the daylight hours; once the ban was lifted, citizens began to take to the beaches in droves, availing of their white sands and ideal surfing conditions. Large numbers of bathers and surfers created the need for shelters, changing stations, and amenities, and thus oceanfront pavilions become a staple of the coastal landscapes. 

According to a recent press release, the area is historically significant as both an indigenous meeting area and the site of a popular swimming pool in the 1950s. The existing structure was dilapidated, a shadow of its heyday glory. Alexander & Co. was brought in to transform the pavilion into a multipurpose venue, one that was suitable both for guests walking up from the beach and for those in search of a sophisticated mid-day meal or dinner. That sophistication would have to be balanced with a measure of sturdiness, as the structure must withstand the weather conditions that come with coastal living, like flooding and storm surges. 

Alexander & Co. answered with a 1200 square metre venue that was “robust, sun-drenched, and faded, a study in scale and simplicity.” 

The pavilion houses three spaces: The Tropic, an a la carte restaurant; the Pavilion, a coastal brasserie; and a main outdoor beach bar. 

“Creatively,” shares the firm, “the client wanted the project to evoke memories of his childhood spent holidaying in Burleigh Heads; a ’70’s Gold Coast beach nostalgia.” It’s easy to see this influence throughout; the atmosphere does boast a retro aesthetic that harkens back to the beach- going days of yesteryear. This was achieved through the use of faded pastels, corbeled clockwork, and bold awnings, with materials strategically chosen both for their aesthetics and practicality; they are highly durable, poised to withstand wear and tear from the elements. That retro presence is further achieved via the exterior profile with a circular breeze block. 

Visitors approaching will be met by tropical gardens flanking the entrance. A concrete canopy and extruding metal lettering announce the name “Burleigh Pavilion” overhead. 

Inside, visitors enter a “hive of gastronomic energy built within a curving masonry arbor.” The large kitchen is centrally located, with two pizza ovens and a fire pit. This kitchen offers extraordinary north views of the Gold Coast and south views of Burleigh beach’s enviable point break. 

In The Tropic, a rattan ceiling instills that desired beachy aesthetic. The firm describes the coastal brasserie as the “sexy older sister to the main beach bar and Pavilion terrace bar.” We love the use of pink, brass, and mint, evoking coral reefs and classic ice cream flavours. 

The Pavilion is an open area with plenty of seating, including high bar seating “cascading down to the tiled window nooks which perch over the water’s edge.” 

Alexander & Co. describes the main beach bar as having in scale and simplicity what the Topic has in detail and intimacy. This space offers views in every direction as well as an umbrella canopy, offering patrons welcome shade from the hot Australian sun. 

Steeped in nostalgia and sophistication, the Burleigh Pavilion is a welcome addition to the country’s coastal culture. 

Photo credit: Anson Smart

Courtesy of v2com