• Client:
  • Greencliff
  • Location :
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Status:
  • Built 2017
  • Size:
  • 200 sqm
  • Partners:
  • Crosbie Projects; Nexus Projects; Light Practice
  • Images:
  • Brett Boardman


Sicily.. luscious green olive oil, a leisurely stroll in the afternoon. 

These are the ingredients that have inspired the design of Olio Kensington Street, a restaurant in inner Sydney by LAVA. 

Sicilian-born award-winning chef Lino Sauro is bringing his cuisine, based on traditional recipes from his family, newly interpreted, to Sydney. He uses very few ingredients and wants each ingredient to be visible and detectable. 

Sicily’s passeggiata and extra virgin green olive oil are the two connecting elements that bring the space inside the 19thc Old Rum Store together.

LAVA created a passeggiata using Sicilian tiles, that flows through the restaurant and connects the kitchen, bar, dining and rooftop areas. This circulation system subdivides the space, separating serving spaces and served spaces. This is also expressed in the ceiling where a layered green ribbon reflects the floor layout.

LAVA introduced two pieces of ‘furniture’, free flowing joinery elements for kitchen and bar. Soft, dripping, LED-lit lines on the joinery interpret the idea of flowing oil.

These new elements were overlaid onto the fantastic bones of the old rum store – exposed brick walls, timber rafters, steel structure, rustic timber doors, loft-style steel windows. The original elements were cleaned up and showcased as existing.

Lighting design by Light Practice includes bendable LED strips that line the joinery and ceiling, and dimmable spotlights that create atmospheric lighting above the tables.

LAVA had a mix of tradition and innovation to work with – an old building and Sicilian tradition; with a new fit-out and Lino’s modern take on Sicilian dishes. Our design complements the quality produce and strong connection to Sicilian roots. Simple and legible.

The restaurant is an exciting new addition to the transformation of the Kensington Street Chippendale area.

Olio Kensington Street is LAVA’s second restaurant recent fit out for Dr Stanley Quek; KYO-TO in the same precinct opened in early 2016.


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Design: Toko / Development: Damien Aistrope