Luchetti Krelle fashions playful interiors for RAFI restaurant in Sydney

Vivid abstract paintings meet patterned floors and oversized lighting fixtures inside this restaurant in Sydney designed by local studio Luchetti Krelle.

Celebrating the produce available on Sydney’s coastline, RAFI serves a seasonal array of seafood small plates. The restaurant’s name is an acronym for Raffaella, Aurora, Frankie and Indio – the children of owners Ben Carroll and Hamish Watts.

Dining area of Sydney restaurant designed by Luchetti Krelle
Large paper lanterns dominate the interior of Sydney’s RAFI restaurant

The duo already run a number of successful dining venues across the city, all of which were designed by Luchetti Krelle.

When called to devise the interiors for RAFI, the studio set out to create a scheme that would “ignite a child-like awe and wonder” in keeping with the restaurant’s name.

Interior of RAFI restaurant in Sydney, designed by Luchetti Krelle
Neon-orange cargo straps help to secure wine bottles in place

This theme is picked up in a number of playful decor elements throughout the restaurant including a trio of huge paper lanterns and mosaic flooring.

To one side of the dining area is an open kitchen, where a chunky red mantelpiece was built around the ovens.

Raised bar in Sydney restaurant designed by Luchetti Krelle
Chequered tiles give the interior a playful feel

A drinks bar lies on the other side of the space, nestled beside a tall wine rack that uses neon-orange cargo straps to hold bottles in place.

RAFI’s plan opens up to a couple of larger dining spaces – one covered in chequered tiles and another dressed with blue banquettes, colourful abstract paintings and woven-back chairs.

The latter features wooden parquetry flooring arranged in concentric squares. This pattern is replicated on a set of cork doors at the rear of the space, which can be slid back to reveal an intimate private dining room.

This area is centred by a hexagonal wooden table and a branch-like chandelier with light-up “leaves”.

Interior of RAFI restaurant in Sydney, designed by Luchetti Krelle
Abstract art and a branch-like chandelier feature in the private dining room

Black box-frame windows that previously appeared throughout the restaurant were swapped for slender galvanised-steel casings, which offer better views out to the terrace.

Here, the studio has introduced outdoor seating and “Aperol-toned” sun umbrellas, as well as a greenhouse-style dining room called The Arbor.

Loosely inspired by childhood camping trips, this space features fold-out chairs and a canopy formed of white camouflage netting.

Orangery of restaurant in Sydney designed by Luchetti Krelle
More dining space is offered in a greenhouse-style structure

Luchetti Krelle was established in 2008 by Rachel Luchetti and Stuart Krelle, with headquarters in Sydney’s Surry Hills neighbourhood.

The studio recently completed another eatery in the city called Jane, which occupies a former butcher shop. Its eclectic interior draws on everything from seventies decor to french bistros and indigenous flowers.

The photography is by Steve Woodburn.

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