[SYD20]

Club Catalina Main Bar and Members Lounge [DRAFT]

 
Image Credit : Double Exposure Photography

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Project Overview

As part of their 3 year Building Master Plan to reposition Club Catalina in its marketplace, Forward Thinking Design (FTD) delivered an astonishing transformation of the iconic coastal golf club’s 960sqm Main Bar, Members Lounge and Restaurant spaces.

In light of significant investments nearby clubs were making in wholesale upgrades to their offers and facilities, FTD’s Building Master Plan for Club Catalina was designed based on extensive market and stakeholder research to achieve a competitive market position into the long term future. Addressing the Club’s dated hospitality space designs has made them more spatially efficient and attractive to a broader market. Becoming more competitive and attractive is now more critical than ever as the Club and its community were significantly impacted by both the summer bushfires and COVID-19 shut downs. The renovations have lifted morale and market position.

FTD worked closely with the builders during the design and construction phases to ensure all techniques and materials were durable and best quality. The fitout was estimated at up to $1.9 million by some but was delivered in only 16 weeks at the planned $1.3 million investment, as a result of astute cost and program planning.

Project Commissioner

Club Catalina

Project Creator

Forward Thinking Design

Team

Vanessa Cullen
Emma-Jane Henry
Bow Jaruwangsanti

Project Brief

Forward Thinking Design (FTD) was tasked with addressing the Club’s dated hospitality spaces and making these more spatially efficient and attractive to a family-focussed market.

FTD found a garish colour scheme, shockingly patterned carpets, ill-conceived bulkheads and acrylic infills trying to disguise the air-conditioning and ceiling beams, and oversized column boxings that destroyed all sight lines and dominated the compromised floor space. But the venue had good ‘bones’ and FTD realized there was a story to be told, if they could strip back the layers and let the structure speak.

Special care was taken when designing the Club’s Members Lounge and Bistro areas to ensure the safety of all patrons, especially the elderly. All furniture was checked to ensure elements such as chair legs didn’t stick out and form a trip hazard, and flooring with best practice slip resistance was specified throughout. New custom-engineered balustrades were installed, integrating the existing pattern language from the ceiling, whilst supporting patrons. The design complies with the AS1428 Disability Access Suite, the NCC and Food Code. The bar infrastructure was also co-designed for improved ergonomics and WHS.

The bar’s layout was co-designed between FTD and the Club’s staff to dramatically improve the ergonomics and service flow. The new open plan public area designs are easy to navigate, and operable walls make it easy for staff to establish flexible boundaries when necessary for functions and events.

Project Innovation/Need

In FTD’s re-design, the sight lines and volume of the Members Lounge were opened up through stripping back the columns and beams to their essential structure & dimensions, and removing fixed walls in favour of operable acoustic partitions. These changes fundamentally improved the total occupancy of the space and flexibility of seating arrangements for different events. The colour schemes, materials and furnishings were modernised and made more universally attractive and versatile, also capitalising on the space’s natural light and golf course views. Everything here is ‘as you like it’ from seating and dining form to the height of your posture. Concreo (an innovative faux-concrete that contains no concrete or cement) clads the bar, and Enomatic wine dispensers allow wine to be preserved and served by the glass. Rather than vending machines, a bar snacks display also gives the Club a new revenue stream.

Rather than have the client waste money on minor works that would not achieve a competitive market position into the long-term future, FTD co-designed (with the club) a 3 year strategy for improvement of the facilities. After the renovations, bar revenue was up over 20% for the period (from 01/12/19 – 22/03/20) compared to the previous year, despite losing 7 days trade due to bushfires, and lack of visitors due to bushfire activity from November to January. General visitors were also up 44% in February 2020 compared to the previous year, and members left positive feedback on the renovations.

Design Challenge

FTD was tasked with addressing the Club’s dated hospitality spaces to make them more spatially efficient and attractive to a broader family-focussed market. Whilst the classic brass detailing, reeded glass and facetted mirrors reference the building’s existing Art Deco period features, the colour schemes, materials and furnishings were modernised and made more universally attractive and versatile; a timeless ‘symphony in white’. The open plan layout is adaptable, and supports the functional requirements for flexibility during functions and events. The Club’s coastal context is evoked through custom-designed carpets throughout, and in decorative details that hint at Hampton’s style, made NSW-south-coast local.

The bar’s layout was co-designed between FTD and the Club’s staff to dramatically improve the ergonomics and service flow. The new open plan public area designs are easy to navigate, and operable walls make it easy for staff to establish boundaries when necessary for functions and events. The overall user experience has been advanced through improved acoustics (courtesy of absorbent panelling in the walls and joinery, underlays, and removing ceiling obstructions), ceiling fans and air conditioning upgrades for better comfort and lowered operating costs, and careful specification of affordable, flexible furniture settings to suit all ages.

Sustainability

FTD have taken a collaborative approach to the long-term strategy for the Club, undertaking extensive market and stakeholder research and co-design to ensure the Club’s long-term sustainability. Combining this strategy based approach with careful attention to the Club’s unique features, such as its NSW coastal context and existing architecture, has resulted in a design which is truly bespoke as a regional destination attraction.

Form supports function through an open plan layout that is adaptable and easy to navigate, with special care taken to ensure that the space is accessible for all. Operable walls with acoustic inlays support noise reduction for functions and events. Furnishings were carefully selected to invite many different experiences of the space, and came in under budget, to allow the client to easily refresh the look when needed to keep the patron experience engaging.

The Club’s existing equipment was reused in the bar wherever possible, and existing materials such as glass were saved for re-use in later stages of the Club’s renovations. The lighting was designed to optimise aesthetics and energy efficiency. Sustainable/lower carbon materials were prioritised throughout and reclaimed timber is utilised in the bar. Sleek, clean burning bioethanol fireplaces warm the Lounge. UV vinyls, blinds and ceiling fans were installed to reduce air conditioning costs and improve temperature control.




This award celebrates innovative and creative building interiors, with consideration given to space creation and planning, furnishings, finishes, aesthetic presentation and functionality. Consideration also given to space allocation, traffic flow, building services, lighting, fixtures, flooring, colours, furnishings and surface finishes.
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