Interior design firm Design Clarity helped sculpt a unique piece of Havana, Cuba in a double-story heritage listed building on Sydney’s York Street to launch La Bodeguita Del Medio.

Design Clarity have recreated the vibrant heydays of Central America through an interior fit-out of the 650 square metre bar, restaurant and event space that creates a sophisticated, cosmopolitan atmosphere whilst adhering to the old-world traditions that La Bodeguita Del Medio is famed for.

For two years, Kristina Hetherington, director of Design Clarity, considered many diverse elements to ensure the history, the brand and the modern context blended seamlessly to create an exciting addition to the food and beverage landscape of the city.

“We extensively researched the Cuban elements and balanced it out with design that also captures the essence of Sydney. We wanted to ensure that patrons felt the magic of the era but not out-of-place in the bar and restaurant,” she said.

“Having the freedom to interpret the famous Cuban theme allowed us to incorporate exquisite and custom-designed elements into all aspects of the interior such as the writing on the walls, the use of azure on the ceiling, right through to the chesterfield finishes on the booths.”

The brief was to ensure the old-world sophistication of the 1950s was accessible to the Sydney market. Design Clarity responded by creating two very different levels that each focus on specific elements of the 1950s Cuban culture. The upper level has an exposed timber panelled ceiling with suspended antique ceiling fans, raw brick archways, a personalised rum locker, spectacular rum barrel display, and even an external luxury cigar lounge.

The basement level is more intimate and includes a live music stage and features rich, dark-stained traditional timber furniture which creates a solid, aged quality. The lighting throughout is moody and the walls are adorned with hand scrawled thoughts of patrons, plus some fabulous hand painted murals.

Andy Lee, project manager, La Bodeguita Del Medio was thrilled with the attention to detail demonstrated throughout the project.

“Design Clarity also worked with textures of existing finishes to find the right balance. The results speak for themselves; on a Friday night we serve over 1500 mojitos which proves to us that this is a successful concept at play,” he said.

“Our customers tell us that their favourite features are the grand entrance and the barrel wall with exposed heritage brickwork. We actually see people walking around the establishment pointing at elements and enjoying the space.”