ONIX Blends Tradition and Modernity at the 5* Capella Sydney Hotel

The architects’ careful selection of all the materials used in the hotel included ONIX glass mosaic tiles to line the pools and cover the wellness zones.   

This property is considered to be one of the world’s most luxurious hotels and is housed in a historic listed building in Sydney’s Edwardian baroque district.

It is the work of the internationally renowned MAKE Architects and BAR Studio. 

Just a short distance from the Botanic Gardens and Sydney Harbour, a lively area rich in Australian culture and history, stands the Capella Sydney, a luxury five-star hotel with a Neo-baroque air. The facilities include a wellness space and two swimming pools featuring ONIX glass mosaic tiles.

The hotel, located in an emblematic building that formerly housed the Australian government’s Department of Education, was designed by the architect George McRae: Today, it is a heritage-listed building that forms part of the architectural area known as the “Sandstone Precinct”, which includes Sydney’s historic buildings built in this material.

Two leading architecture studios, MAKE Architects and BAR Studio, were commissioned with the building’s renovation and design. They chose ONIX glass mosaic tiles for the sophisticated pool linings and coverings in the hotel’s wellness zones.

As Marc von Arnim, the hotel’s general manager, explains, “The work to preserve the building’s heritage is absolutely impeccable, combined with cutting-edge architectural and interior design, featuring state-of-the-art wellness facilities that offer experiences that far exceed our guests’ expectations”.

Swimming pools featuring ONIX glass mosaic tiles in the former gallery  

The swimming pools are located in the sixth-floor gallery, which has been conserved and transformed into a magnificent wellness and experiential space. This area, which is essentially open-plan, includes a stunning 20-metre indoor heated pool, a vitality pool, gym, saunas, steam rooms and spa.

The gallery is illuminated from above via the original copper skylights in the historic ceiling and which have been meticulously restored and reinterpreted to allow natural light to enter and flood this unique setting.

The interior design exudes elegance and modernity, inspired by period architecture.  BAR Studio opted for a neutral colour scheme for the swimming pools and wellness zone, choosing ONIX mosaic tiles in shades of grey and beige, in keeping with the rest of the materials and decorative elements in this luxury property.

The ONIX glass mosaic tile chosen to line the swimming pool and cover the wellness area was the Quartz Grey Matte model, comprising 25+25 format tiles with a quartz and cement-effect finish.

These tiles were personalised with an anti-slip finish and silk-effect that not only create a delicate sense of comfort, but also ensures confidence and safety when walking barefoot in wet or damp areas.

The grey tones of the mosaic tiles used to line the pool, combined with the light that filters through the skylights in the late afternoon and evening, create myriad reflections in a clever play of blue and ash-grey shades, filling this sophisticated and visually intriguing space with life.

The Quartz Grey model was used in several of the rooms in the wellness zone, maintain the quartz and cement tones, whilst the Storm Matte model was chosen for the corridors. Inspired by natural stone veining, this model features a smooth and delicate anti-slip finish, making for delightful sensation and a surface that is safe for walking without footwear.

The 5* Capella Sydney Hotel reflects a harmonious mix of tradition and modernity. As Stewart Robertson, cofounder and Creative Director at BAR Studio explains, “The historic building was our source of inspiration for the interior design. Our aim was to create a space that retains its historical essence, but imbued with a fresh, avant-garde air”.

BAR STUDIO, outstanding specialisation in upper-upscale hospitality 

BAR Studio is a design practice specialising in the upper-upscale hospitality sector with an extensive portfolio encompassing internationally renowned hotels and resorts. Founded in Australia in 2003 by Felicity Beck and Stewart Robertson, BAR Studio has offices in Melbourne and Madrid. Outstanding projects include Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, Park Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, Westin Hotels & Resorts and Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts. The studio is currently working on projects in the Asia-Pacific Region and Europe.

About MAKE Architects

MAKE is an architecture studio founded in 2004 by Ken Shuttleworth, whose mission is “to design the world’s most exceptional spaces”. Staffed by a team of 150 professionals located in London, Hong Kong and Sydney, the firm provides architecture and interior design services.