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What defines the Byron Bay aesthetic?

The coastal beauty and laid-back lifestyle that Byron Bay is renowned for attracts people from all walks of life. From movie stars and picturesque wedding parties to the nomads in vans and those seeking a holistic natural existence. Because of this diversity, there is a lot going on design-wise in Byron once you peel back the layers. We consider the various design influences that shape this iconic town.

For many, Byron Bay conjures up images of a relaxed, surfy beachside town with its design and architecture naturally following along the same lines. While there is certainly a laid-back undercurrent that permeates most facets of life, that’s not the only thing that defines Byron Bay’s design aesthetics. Having lived in Byron for six years now, whitewood founder Julie King lives and breathes the eclecticism that makes up the town, even contributing to some of the most iconic local shops, restaurants, bars and cafés. “Byron Bay is really a place where the country meets the coast. The hinterland and surrounding areas are just as beautiful and influential in bringing the laid-back spirit that Byron is known for,” says Julie, adding, “But there is a lot more to Byron than the just the beachy, coastal style.”

As a place that attracts lots of new residents who make a sea change from the big cities, Byron is constantly being injected with influences from much further afield, whether it’s the gritty laneway culture of Melbourne or the upscale bars of Sydney.

Byron has a grungy side to it – emanating from the surf and skate culture – alongside expanses of industrial areas and warehouses, many of which are now being snapped up and revitalised. One example of this industrial rawness coming to life can be seen in Anchor Chief, a retail fit-out for a surf and skate shop in Lennox Head or the recently completed Stone & Wood brewery in the industrial estate created by the talents of HGA (Harley Graham Architects).

On the modern end of the spectrum, places like Mez Club and The Loft use neutral colour palettes coupled with white render and rattan creating spaces that reflect an incredibly contemporary Mediterranean vibe – both of which are trendy, Instagram worthy hot spots.

Pipit fine dining restaurant

Thirty minutes up the road in Pottsville, the aesthetic changes again where the raw natural beauty of the landscape and coast form the conceptual framework for fine dining restaurant Pipit. Designed by whitewood, Pipit brings a rich and earthy palette to life with textured renders, natural timbers and terracotta tiles to create a contemporary and sophisticated fine dining restaurant.

Different again is the recently renovated Supernatural bar, which is another whitewood project. Alongside a whole new menu and a new focus on delicious cocktails, the interiors are all about creating a rich, immersive and ambient atmosphere, as seen in the rich emerald greens and textured dusty pinks, with dark stained timber furniture and accent lighting. In amongst these various styles, there is of course the classic boho and coastal Hampton-styles, which each bring a charming quality that many people seek out for their homes. The approach to interior design at whitewood is all about working with the client for the best result. This means each project is started with fresh eyes, and a unique, individual brief. Through the creative design and ideation process, we identify not just a style but also dive into the project to draw out a meaning, all while considering function and purpose.

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