Inside Powerhouse Garden Restaurant by Ken Done, 1994.
The Powerhouse is one of Australia's premier cultural institutions, presenting innovative exhibitions on design, decorative arts, industry, science, technology, and social history. In 1993, the museum invited Australian artist Ken Done to completely redesign its restaurant-cafe. The beautiful Powerhouse Garden Restaurant was unveiled in March 1994.
In the lead up to our upcoming event at Sydney Design Week that will see Cultivated’s restoration team reviving chairs from this very restaurant, we take a look through the Powerhouse archives and spotlight this iconic space.
In 1993, Ken Done was commissioned to create a new environment for the Powerhouse Restaurant in the Powerhouse, Sydney. The Powerhouse Garden Restaurant opened in March 1994 and remained popular until its closure in 2002 to accommodate the necessary expansion of the museum's exhibition space.
"It was a great challenge to be invited by the director, Terence Measham, to create an entire art and design concept for the restaurant. It was a wonderful opportunity to bring light and colour to a fairly dull space and envelope people in the feeling of a glowing, growing garden." Ken Done, Sydney 1999
The restaurant captured the spirit of the artist's own harbourside garden on a perfect summer's day and transformed a dreary industrial interior to create a fantasy landscape of vibrant colour and different layers that energised the architectural space.
The radiant hues of luxuriant foliage and perfect sky created a painting which both enhanced and defined the architectural space. Set within the highly technological exhibits and vistas of the museum, the garden theme reflected the human scale of the visitor.
The Fritz Hansen Series 7 designed by Arne Jacobsen was the chair of choice to fill the space; its timeless design and organic shape complementing the restaurant’s vibrant energy.
Ken Done is undoubtedly one of the most popular Australian designers of the late twentieth century, and one of the few with an international reputation. His style is instantly recognisable worldwide conjuring up ideas of sun, sand, and surf, basic tenets of the Australian lifestyle.
Join us at Sydney Design Week from 17-18 September for Reviving Design Icons and see our sustainability initiative, Cultivated, in action. For two days only, Cultivated’s master craftspeople have been invited into the Powerhouse workshop to revive 10 of the museums’ Fritz Hansen Series 7 chairs designed by Arne Jacobsen, some of which are from Ken Done’s Garden Restaurant.