The Lilian wordmark and menu design was created by Lotte Design – see more here
Sitting in this establishment, two good Italian proseccos in, stealing the last bite of burrata from the shared plate as you eye-up what’s for mains, you’ll probably have forgotten you’re not in some family-run osteria, on some little cobblestoned laneway, somewhere in Tuscany. You’re in Lilian – Auckland’s ‘newest oldest’ eating establishment, in the neighbourhood of Grey Lynn.
Lilian is the creation of Honey Bones‘ (we featured that space on The New when it opened, here) owners, Hugo Baird, Willy Gresson and Otis Gardner Schapiro. Lilian was actually the name of Otis’ grandmother, and the concept was for a space that would be evocative of her imagined home and hospitality – comfortable and comforting, almost humble in its simplicity.
There’s a very authentic sense of heritage here, as if Lilian’s been a part of the fabric of Grey Lynn for decades. They could have made the traditional osteria concept twee, but everything feels substantive and storied. The deep-toned, aged and detailed timber, the textured walls, the extra-thick stone and marble countertops, the genuine-vintage lighting, the handcrafted tiles… even the leather is worn-in. Nothing in the space feels new. It’s the work of Interior Architects Ctrl Space, in collaboration with co-owner Hugo. Together, they’ve created a space that feels as though it’ll be around for a while.
One of my favourite details is the pass – it could have been considered by the designers as a purely functional space, but they’ve made it a feature that adds to this rich visual story… I love the detailed European windowsill with the sash windows and pebbled glass.
Can we also just talk about how beautifully photographer Sarah Grace has captured this space? She’s saying more with light and shadow than my words ever could. For more atmospheric imagery, check out Sarah’s website, and follow her on Instagram @sarahgracephoto.