Palmer & Co
LOCATION: Abercrombie Ln, Sydney NSW 2000
I went on a wild research adventure discovering Sydney in the early part of the century. I have always been naturally fascinated by Australian history (I have a history degree from Sydney University) and it went perfectly in hand with researching the area for Palmer & Co. which I co-designed with the talented Kelvin Ho of Akin Creative (and of course Justin Hemmes).
The bar is located in a brick vaulted basement that would have been constructed around the 1850s. Inspiration for the name Palmer & Co. came from a shop on Pitt St from the 1800s, called Mrs Palmer & Sons, taxidermist & furrier that held many curios. I lined its walls with photographs of the small time crooks, petty thieves & peoples of interest found at the Police & Justice Museum (often very well dressed & quite good looking).
I kept the entrance plain with simple chicken wire lockers so that the interior is all the more impressive when you enter: expect the unexpected. The bathrooms on the far side of the locker are made out of recycled wood and within is my own version of the classic adnet mirror.
Inside, we stripped the space bare and started fresh. Most of the furniture is custom built. All the lights are made by hand. The lights that hover over my washable leather top tables are handspun and worked from my designs by our very talented blacksmith – it is based on one I had photographed on a bathroom ceiling in New York. The copper lights are from fabulous designer Piet Hein Eek.
We had fabric for booths printed on artist’s canvas. The props and bits n’ pieces throughout the space, I sourced over months locally (Sydney & Melbourne) and in the States from Philadelphia. All the way down to buying an entire top hat collection that is encased in the central bookcase. The glassware is mixed with new & old but most shapes are based on designs from the early 1900s. A perfect place for under-the-table deals & Chinese whispers.
Photography by Chris Court