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East Hotel Transforms Its Lobby Into a Plush New Experience for Locals & Visitors to Canberra

September 16, 2020 Hotel News No Comments Email Email

The Hotel’s sophisticated reimagining of the reception and lobby space invites community and guests to mingle and relax in an environment oozing with style and energy

East Hotel has unveiled a rejuvenated lobby space designed by Kelly Ross that, alongside Joe’s Bar and Agostinis restaurant, completes her design triptych of elegant and cool spaces to gather, eat, drink and relax. With new furnishings, lighting, textures and colours, the lobby space has evolved into a sumptuous venue in its own right. The space welcomes visitors with lush escapism, drawing them into a sensory oasis that has something for everyone.

Ross and East Hotel owners Dan and Dion Bisa’s unique and eclectic vision for the public spaces in the hotel have created a flowing family of intertwined venues that invite guests to settle in and enjoy the unique atmosphere that engages visitors and guests on a number of levels. Whether meeting friends for a glass of vino in front of the lobby’s open fire, sampling a few of the standout cocktails at Joe’s, taking the family to dinner at Agostinis, or all of the above, the experience is both ethereal and welcoming. Enveloping it all is the canopy of Ross’ design vision, where the devil lies in the detail. Every surface, texture, light instalment, adornment and piece of furniture has meaning and comes together in beautiful, diverse harmony.

“Working with Kelly is an inspired, creative and artistic experience and she is always able to capture our unique energy and spirit so beautifully in the spaces we create together,” says Dion Bisa, Brand Director, East Hotel. “I admire that risk isn’t something Kelly fears and if I suggest something risky, nine times out of ten she will say yes. Kelly is never standard and never on trend – she creates trend! Her vision is approached with a depth of thought and detail that brings a vibrancy to her work that is truly unique. It feels energising and exciting for all of us to see this beautiful transformation of our lobby unfold. To be able to see it come to fruition is a reminder to us all that we, and this entire wonderful industry of which we are so proudly a part of in Australia and in our beloved city of Canberra, will prevail. There is a bright future ahead to look forward to and many wonderful moments that we can continue to share along the way as we all navigate and manage this time safely together. We hope our guests will enjoy the warm embrace of this beautiful new space – laptop, espresso or negroni in hand!”

The first thing you notice upon entering EAST is the spacious, soaring central atrium whose black ceiling incorporates a ‘limitless sky’ effect, cleverly utilizing both natural and installed light to introduce the warm atmosphere that permeates throughout the hotel. Ross’ lighting design within the space is less about illuminating than creating ambience. Carefully placed lamps and subtle lights transcend their function and become sensorial and sculptural, creating moody and desirable enclaves that act as adornments to the gorgeous level of light. Ross describes the lighting as intimate and conversational, appealing to the primal human instinct to gather around lights like sitting around a fire. Hanging above is the remarkable tasselled central light installation discovered by accident at MCM House on Oxford Street in Sydney by Kelly and Dion. A one-off piece designed and made in Africa, it connected in a serendipitous way to Dion, whose own travels in Africa have been a constant source of inspiration.


The impression is one of overall textured, luxe design. From the contemporary ‘patchwork’ floor covering popping in floralsglamorous vignettes, elegant furnishings and video installation artfully projected on a towering wall, through to the front desk clad in leather inspired by an Yves Saint Laurent handbag, guests feel they have arrived somewhere very special.

The lobby has such power as a first impression – it tells you everything that’s to come,” says Kelly Ross.” It’s the welcome mat for the whole experience, connecting people in transit and defining the hotel in a playful and grounded way. It’s a prestigious feeling to do a hotel lobby because the stakes are high. You have to include everybody and stay true to the soul of the hotel but also catch the eye and imagination. Two of the most powerful tools to bring a design to life are texture and colour as we connect with both in such an emotive way. The new leather texture of the front desk installed by Inset Group is based on an YSL handbag – but the joke is on the handbag because it’s about inclusivity rather than exclusivity! The pieces are as much about colour and texture as they are about form and function. I approach every interior like a direct reflection of the client – completely unique and individual. My intention is to define and push boundaries the client may not have known existed, to break down preconceptions and arrive together at an unexpected place. As Lewis Carroll said, ‘If you don’t know where you’re going, every road leads you there.’”

The lobby space offers a number of individual and aspirational zones. Elegant sofas invite guests to enjoy a glass of wine by the open fire or to chat over the perfect martini in the elegant Martini setting. The dinner party table, crafted from repurposed French oak wine barrels sits at the head of the room, expressing ideas of long and luscious dinners. The sense is of a space that can be enjoyed in a myriad of ways, as an extension of the much-loved venues that open out into it.

Since opening in 2012, East Hotel has established itself as Canberra’s premier design and lifestyle, apartment hotel that symbolises the renewed energy and style of our capital city. Located between the fashionable boutique shopping and restaurant hubs of Manuka and Kingston, minutes from the Parliamentary triangle and notable national attractions, EAST is focused on providing its guests with a memorable Canberra experience, far beyond their expectations. As a leading ‘design hotel’ in Canberra, EAST is proud to showcase the nation’s capital, facilitating a whole new perspective for its guests. East Hotel provides a contemporary, cool and vibrant option for visitors to Canberra whether overnighters, business guests, long stay guests or families. The six-story hotel has 140 rooms in various studio and apartment-style combinations, recognizing the challenges families can face with hotel accommodation by providing specially designated suites, cleverly designed in a modular, fun way specifically to cater for both adults and kids.

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