Lilian Restaurant

CTRL Space used warm materials to create a comfortable and authentic Italian Osteria experience for diners at Lilian Restaurant in Auckland, New Zealand.

  • Year 2019
  • Location Auckland, New Zealand,
  • Type Restaurant,
  • Our clients Hugo Baird, Willy Gresson & Otis Gardner Schapiro the owners behind the popular café Honey Bones, approached us to help them develop a new restaurant in Grey Lynn only 3 doors down. Their ambition was to create an establishment that was both casual and approachable while bringing a level of hospitality which they believed did not presently exist in the area. The client’s understanding of great hospitality and dedication to exceptional service was a wonderful foundation to the begin project with. Inspired by time spent in Europe – the client held the seed of the idea to create an authentic Italian Osteria; serving the best food, wine and experience for the locals.

    We worked closely with Hugo to develop a humble space that was intended to embed itself within the Grey Lynn community with comfort and approachability at its heart. Holding onto the idea of an Osteria and inspired by Otis’s grandmother Lilian, we began to bring a story to life that encapsulated a homely, comfortable space, imagined as an extension of Lilian’s home and her hospitable nature. We imagined a domestic environment, somewhere in Italy, where family & friends were wined and dined over generations, now opening its doors for locals of Grey Lynn. We pictured this place where traditional family recipes had been perfected over the past 50 years, and where every bottle has a story behind it.

    Overlaid with a sense of European heritage, we used stone, ‘hand’ leathered marble countertops and had the walls hand-painted to emulate an aged, tobacco-stained plaster interior. Solid aged elm timber detailing was employed throughout all the joinery pieces and a selection of dining tables. Aged brass, bronze, and glass made up the vintage lighting, emitting a soft warm glow throughout the space during the evening service. Worn in leathers and aged timbers create the softness and offer a domestic setting that looks as though it has been around for years. Despite having a relatively limited budget, we ensured all materiality that a customer would interact with would be humble and honest.

    Design: CTRL Space
    Photography: Sarah Grace