02/04/2022

The Paddington Edit

Interview with Fleur Robinson, Area Sales Manager and Custodian of the Bolon Showroom in Sydney

Sydney based design enthusiast, Fleur Robinson shares her favourite haunts in Paddington, the home of Bolon’s Showroom in Sydney. The leafy laneways, abundance of art galleries and local icons, all fuel her passion for design and offer endless sources of inspiration.

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you ended up in Paddington

I’m Fleur Robinson, Bolon expert and custodian of the Bolon Showroom on Oxford Street, Paddington. With the opening of the showroom in 2020, Paddington has become a home away from home.

With over 2 decades of experience in all aspects of commercial design, I represent Bolon in New South Wales. Beyond my professional career, I’m a mum to 2 active teenagers and love to experience different cultures through travel. After studying design at university, I began weaving my creativity across many disciplines, including editorial writing, styling and interior design. I’m sensitive to aesthetics and find joy when beauty marries with function and sustainability.

Being a more conscious consumer, you’re spoilt for choice in Paddington when it comes to shopping.  Can share your go-to sustainable stores and brands in the area?

For fashion, I can’t go past ESSE, a contemporary, ready-to-wear fashion brand for women. The brand values mindfulness, sustainability and conscious consumerism – 3 values that resonate with my approach to living. Their philosophy is to invest in less while offering small capsule collections that can be worn together to create unique looks for years to come. ESSE is located above the Bolon Showroom.  It’s a blessing to be surrounded by beautiful collections and a challenge to constantly resist the urge to update my wardrobe.

 

For skincare and fragrance, I adore Aesop for their modern approach to prestige branding combined with their experience in sustainable development and eco-friendly products. From a design perspective, I appreciate how each Aesop store has a unique interior design developed in collaboration with various architects, interior designers and artists. The Paddington Store, designed in collaboration with Clare Cousins Architects is an expression of radical simplicity and orderly appeal. A floating travertine basin, worthy of a visit to the store to appreciate, grounds the space and evokes evoke seaside cliffs with its mineral layers and sandy hues. Nature, from design and product, at its finest.

Paddington is also known for it’s abundance of good food, including award winning restaurants.  What are your top picks to satisfy your taste buds?

Working with a Swedish brand, I like to entertain clients in the Bolon Showroom with Swedish delicacies and treats. Cafe Koket is tucked away in the gorgeous backyard of Funkis, a Scandinavian fashion and lifestyle store on Oxford Street. With inspiration taken from Scandinavian cuisine, Cafe Koket offers a range of flavours appropriated to Australia and the best local produce. They consciously pick their suppliers, and aim to serve the highest quality organic & sustainable menu including organic milk and bread, plus locally grown organic vegetables and eggs.

When I want to venture out of the showroom and share a meal with clients or friends, I enjoy Fred’s. There’s a sense of being at home when dining in the space. The warm and welcoming restaurant is renowned for their farm-to-table cooking that centres around an intimate open kitchen with a welcoming sense of theatre. Beyond the food, the interiors offer inspiration where it’s impossible not to drool over the beauty of the marble-topped kitchen counter or appreciate the heavy timber stairs. From the fresh and sustainably sourced food, extensive wine list, carefully considered ambiance and everything in between, the magic is in the detail.

When looking for a fine art fix, where do you venture?

Saint Cloche Gallery is my go-to for inspiration and a dose of contemporary art. The gallery supports the work of established artists, whilst also providing a nurturing platform to champion fresh talent and present their ideas. I love the Sydney art scene and believe Paddington plays a crucial role in cultivating talent.  Saint Cloche is a dynamic gallery with diverse and high-calibre exhibitions changing fortnightly and is at the epicentre of a growing community of like-minded creatives, promoting art, culture and contemporary thinking.

Given your work with architects and designers on a range of projects across all sectors, you must come across so many wonderful and inspiring furniture brands. Are there some local brands that are particularly inspiring?

I can’t go past JARDAN.  Similar to Bolon and The Andrews Group (Bolon’s exclusive distribution partner in Australia and Southeast Asia), Jardan is a family-owned and design-led business whose friendly, collaborative approach to design is unique in an increasingly global marketplace. Contemporary ideas are expressed through quality materials while striving to reduce their environmental impact. These concepts are familiar to me via my work with Bolon who also share these same ambitions. Their showroom in Paddington reflects their unique sensibility and brings products together with select pieces from local and international artists. Designed by IF Architecture, the beautiful art deco building is filled with a system of colour that shifts and changes your mood as you walk through the showroom and transition between levels. A visit to the space is always inspiring.

What else do you love about Paddington?

The community minded approach and willingness to support local business, particularly important post-pandemic, is something I’ve really appreciated over the past 2 years.

 

Fleur’s Favourites in Paddington:

Fashion:  ESSE, 76 Oxford Street, Paddington NSW

Skincare & Fragrance:  AESOP, 3a Glenmore Rd, Paddington NSW

Furniture & Homewares:  JARDAN, 42 Oxford Street, Paddington NSW

Food:  CAFE KOKET AT FUNKIS, 202 Oxford Street, Paddington NSW + FRED’S, 380 Oxford Street, Paddington NSW

Art:  SAINT CLOCHE, 37 MacDonald St, Paddington NSW

Design:  BOLON SHOWROOM, 46 Oxford Street, Paddington NSW

 

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