Three venues are helping breathe new life into Perth’s iconic former Old Treasury Buildings. By Kerryn Ramsey
After being left empty for two decades, the State Buildings in Perth were sympathetically restored into a luxury hotel last year. The design introduced new restaurants to the precinct, including three individual dining venues by Spacagency Architects—Petition Kitchen, Petition Wine Bar & Merchant and Petition Beer Corner.
The Petition venues are located on the ground level while Long Chim Perth is in the lower ground basement area. “The buildings had been quite grand in their day but had endured some unsympathetic modifications when they lost their original purpose as the state title’s office,” says Dimmity Walker of Spaceagency Architects whose challenge was how to respond to that sense of faded glory. “We haven’t erased its past life but we have peeled back through various layers of finish. We also introduced new functions and services to achieve an articulate space that speaks of many different points in time.”
Petition has both a cutting-edge feel and a sense of history. Walker stripped plaster off the walls just to look at various layers of paint and texture. “We wanted to make sure the new things we added were from a particular palette of materials. We introduced raw, black steel and bronzed mirror.”
Rather than sand the original timber floor, it was kept in a raw state for authenticity. As a contrast, a marble-based counter and bespoke furniture were introduced. While the tables and leather banquettes in the Petition Kitchen are custom-made, the dining chairs were bought off the shelf. In the Petition Beer Corner, custom steel and timber high tables allow patrons to stand or sit around timber ledges.
Making sure the wait staff manages the three different venues was key for Walker. “The flow of service and staff is critical in a venue like this. A lot of work went into designing the kitchens and prep kitchens and integrating how the services and staff move around in the spaces.”
The open kitchen is on the ground floor and connects with the scullery and prep kitchen in the basement. A dumb waiter speeds up the process.
The mix of bespoke and pendant lights provides a warm atmosphere. “In Petition Kitchen, custom blown-glass pendants look like shapely wine glasses while ceramic pendants in the wine bar give an earthy texture. Brass fixtures in the beer hall have an amber-ale colour that adds a golden hue,” says Walker, adding the open kitchen brings visual drama to Petition Kitchen plus works as a stage from the dining space. “It allows for diners to appreciate the dining experience, as well as the historic building.
Petition Wine Bar & Merchant is a casual dining space with a bottle-shop feel. “There’s plenty of flexibility to reconfigure the seating, with seating outside as well,” says Walker.
With three experiences on offer, Petition is now a dining hotspot in Perth’s CBD.