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Behind the Scenes with QT’s Designer

Dec 28, 2017  ·  4 min read

Balancing mother nature and modern design, Nic Graham has been leading the interior charge as he collaborated on his 8th QT Hotel, QT Queenstown. Nic, the team and other QT collaborators worked across our 69 luxuriously appointed guest rooms for an accommodation experience that we’re certain will be recognised on a global and local scale. Now let’s get to know the creative at the helm …

I know that each QT property is unique to its destination, but what are some of your favourite features of the Australian hotels and resorts that you have designed?

I don’t have a favourite, however both Melbourne and Sydney come to mind as they were benchmark projects.

QT Sydney was a benchmark project due its heritage component (The State Theatre and Gowings Building); there are a myriad of issues when dealing with a heritage project and what was to be a flagship property. My favourite feature lies in the artwork. Past forward by Michael Johansson is a commissioned art piece that adorns the wall of QT Sydney’s Lobby and is comprised only of found objects. I had an early vision to have something along the lines of the statement piece you see today. Once the concept/narrative was decided, it was a matter of working with the right artist.

QT Melbourne was a benchmark project as it was QT’s first custom built property, from an old cinema to a boutique hotel. I had an old concrete shell to work with and worked to build contemporary layers indoors. Like all QT’s, inspiration was sought by the property’s location. QT Melbourne sits at the Paris End of nearby Collins St, and the Parisian flair extends from the interiors through to the Food and Beverage offerings. The Cake Shop, a French patisserie, sits in the QT Melbourne Lobby and a ‘French Quarter’ cocktail list is served in Pascale Bar and Grill. Like with QT Sydney, my favourite feature of QT Melbourne is Readers Digest, an installation by Claire Healy and Sean Corderio. This grandeur art piece comprises 6,000 books!

Some great artistic synergies between Sydney and Melbourne. How different was the QT Queenstown project for you – what inspired your designs here?

I had never been there before so I travelled to Queenstown for the first time for the hotel. The drive from the airport to the site alone was breathtaking. I arrived knowing the restaurant and bar space, now Bazaar and Reds Bar, would sit on Level 6. It was up high with a beautiful view of the Lake and mountains, so I knew we couldn’t make too many mistakes.

QT Queenstown followed the DNA of the Resort properties and the design and interior was adjusted to encompass the surrounding environment and the location. For example, Bazaar’s design elements, such as exposed surfaces, a herringbone pattern on the floor, and leather straps, came from an original story channelling outdoor sports gear, ski gear, T-bars and gondolas.    

What’s the difference between QT Hotel and QT Resort style?

The nature of Resort is usually coastal, beach savvy, open space, relaxed; this is reflected in the graphics, colour palette, and accessories seen in QT Gold Coast, Port Douglas and Bondi.

A cross-over with all QT Hotels & Resorts is that there is a harmony between old and new, vintage and contemporary. I source collectables at antiques stores and op shops and put them in storage then wait until the right property to match comes along.  

Where is your favourite place to stay at around the world and why?

I had the most wonderful experience at a hotel in Amsterdam called The Conservatorium, which is based in the museum district of Amsterdam. The Conservatorium used to be a conservatory of music.

I love the glass ceiling, massive open conservatory, sitting in the atrium and being toasty indoors while it’s freezing outside.  

words by chris lee

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