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Essentially south Australian: the Coal Cellar + Grill in the Hilton Adelaide offers home cooking in more ways than one.

Today, no remnants of the bins of coal that once fired the furnaces remain in the building where the 374-room Hilton Adelaide--overlooking Victoria Square in downtown Adelaide, Australia-now stands. Replacing the coal bins, but referencing their past, is the new Coal Cellar + Grill, where guests and locals alike can enjoy the hotel's restaurant, bar and lobby lounge.

Mark Landini of Landini Associates, Sydney, architects for the $5-million renovation, says that his initial directive from hotel management was to create a setting that supports its enhanced "essentially South Australian cuisine," which draws on local ingredients to produce regional specialties. "Our design brief was to create a restaurant that did not feel as if it was in a hotel, but would become a destination for the local community, as well as a favorite with travelers," says Landini, who collaborated with Ambience Lighting on the illumination plan for the 15,000-sq ft, 180-seat restaurant and lounge area that opened late last year. "Very little had been done to the space in the 35 years that the restaurant was operated."



Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served daily in the restaurant. A variety of cooking methods are now employed by the hotel's dedicated food preparation staff, including the signature charcoal grill and rotisserie. The eatery carries more than 500 wine labels, many originating from South Australian vineyards, while high tea has been added to the weekend's offerings. The dining and lounge area makeover demonstrates the hotel's vision for a fun, vibrant ambience that offers patrons a quality dining experience that is not expensive.

The project also represents the Hilton Adelaide's focus on driving more revenue from food and beverage. In the hospitality industry, income from rooms typically accounts for from three to five times that of food and beverage. Hilton Adelaide's two-and-a-half-year-long effort to upgrade its food service was to introduce a total change of the hotel's dining personality.


Landini's firm had designed Hilton hotels in other Australian locations such as Perth, Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Sydney, as well as the Hilton Singapore. For the Hilton Adelaide, the challenge was in presenting a forward-leaning concept to a client known to favor conservative solutions. "We needed to get them thinking in a different pattern than is typically followed by other hotel chains. Our vision was a more open design approach so the Hilton Adelaide could communicate a statement of personal style, like that of successful restaurateurs I work with. They had to make sure that their facilities meet their patrons' level of expectation for an excellent dining experience."

In Coal Cellar + Grill, Landini's materials palette combines timbers, leather, and marble and granite against a background of exposed pillars and ceilings, offering visual contrast to the interior's customized furnishings and lighting fixtures.


Part of the heritage of the Hilton Adelaide was an antiquated mirrored ceiling reflecting a huge suspended lighting fixture on the ground floor public space. The fixture "dominated the bar and lobby lounge, but it was impossible to service, and used outdated technology," Landini found following his first visit to the site. He took into account the visual effect that it had made over the years on the interior surroundings, familiar to local diners. Landini and his team kept this in mind as an influence on their proposed solution.

The designers presented a rendering of a replacement fixture that would feature a dramatic cascade of 80 staggered rods, each measuring 9.8 ft long, mounted on a column. It would fill the space with light from an overhead source that would double as a work of architectural LED art. Hilton decision-makers ultimately approved Landini's design plan for the Grill restaurant and surrounding space.

With product developer Copper Industrial Design, Landini finalized the design for the fixture and went into the manufacturing phase to meet the installation schedule for the November 2015 opening. Together, they worked out the details for the fixture's rods. At the end of each hollow polished brass rod is a clear dimmable 6-W LED lamp. A mounting plan was devised to affix the rods to an exposed concrete column with an attached pair of electrified cuffs, approximately 12 ft apart. The rods are twisted near the attachment point into bundles of five, organized to spray out light over the lobby lounge.


At floor level, to balance the shower of light overhead, is a floor-to-ceiling wine cage with strongly defined horizontal and vertical lines created by the arrangement of 3,000 wine bottles. Placed at one end of the bar, serving both the restaurant and the lobby lounge, the cage is visible from all angles of both areas.


With operating hours beginning at 6:30 a.m. and extending through dinner, the lighting system has five different settings to establish the appropriate ambience for the open spaces and four private dining rooms. Flexible lighting levels are built into the settings for support spaces and the visible food preparation activities in the kitchen.


LED 3000K tape accents such features as stonework, under the bar counter and recessed under the crockery shelving in the grill station area. As these shelves are directly over the pass-through and plating stations, lighting levels are increased to provide the chefs with the output needed to complete the final preparations before serving.

Hand-blown, clear-glass orb pendant fixtures designed by Mark Douglass create a mid-level layer of light between the overhead semi-recessed and track lights and tabletops with surrounding banquets and dining chairs. Attached with ultra-thin black wires, the 5-W suspended globes appear to float. Dining room columns, meanwhile, hold brass-finish up/down dimmable custom triangular prism wall lights, fitted with two 5-W, clear warm white LED lamps.

Table lamps in the restaurant, private dining rooms and lobby lounge are fabricated of spun aluminum. Designed by Landini, and manufactured by Lightforce pty ltd., the domed top's applied polished mirror brass finish turns the surrounding interior space into something of a still life portrait of the environs.

Portico Magnifico

The entrance makes quite a statement at the renovated Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in Reno, NV. But the lighting isn't just a pretty face. It also has to withstand Reno's sudden storms, semi-arid climate and high-intensity winds, and be rust-proof.

Two types of custom luminaires have been installed at the entrance portico. The perforated satin stainless steel luminaires allow wind penetration, while keeping with the hotel's consistent design theme. The first set of fixtures was chosen to accent the perforated stainless steel support columns and off-white color scheme. A total of 24 square red fixtures installed in two rows atop the main entrance glow from the inside through the use of acrylic diffuser panels within perforated satin stainless steel outer cages. The luminaires, measuring 36 in. high, are fitted with PAR20 LEDs.



In addition, 21 oversized chandeliers hang above the driveway amongst circular pot lights. Like the square fixtures, perforated satin stainless steel outer cages surround circular curtains of white polycarbonate beads that reflect a rich glow across the portico. The chandeliers are more than 9 ft tall and are also fitted with PAR20 LEDs.

Innovativo Design, Las Vegas, designed the lighting plan, and Bloom Lighting Group manufactured the fixtures. "The lighting helps tell a story, and draws the various parts of the hotel and casino together with its consistency, imparting the Grand Sierra with the sense of grandeur and sophistication expected of a four-star resort," says Nancy Paolino, project design executive at Innovativo.

Paul Tarricone


* The hotel's objective was to create a vibrant ambience for dining.

* A dramatic suspended fixture doubles as architectural LED art.

* The design scheme is tailored to the restaurant's morning through evening hours.



Mark Landini is creative director of Sydney-based Landini Associates, a multi-disciplinary design and brand consultancy.


Lin Lam is design director at Ambience Lighting.
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Title Annotation:HILTON ADELAIDE
Author:Barr, Vilma
Publication:LD+A Magazine
Date:Aug 1, 2016
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