SARAH & SEBASTIAN is synonymous with luxury, merging conceptual design with innovative handcraftsmanship. Makers of fine, contemporary signature and seasonal jewellery pieces, its first store in Sydney’s Oxford Street was a kiosk-style space, a blackened glass box, sitting within a heritage-listed courtyard in the heart of Paddington.


A significant milestone in the SARAH & SEBASTIAN journey for co-founders and designers Sarah Munro and Robert Sebastian Grynkofki, was the recent reopening of the Paddington store, following an extensive refurbishment; one both highly anticipated and emotional.

“The redesign of our Paddington store marks a sentimental moment for both Sarah and I. It signifies a milestone in our brand’s history but also a bold step forward in shaping the future direction and philosophy of SARAH & SEBASTIAN,” says Grynkofki.

Described as a ‘considered reimagining’ embracing contrasting details and hand-finished surfaces, the redesign was a collaboration with Akin Atelier, a spacial communications practice of architects and designers renowned for creating positive and meaningful experiences.


Conceived as a modern relic, the design extracts concepts from alchemy underpinned by an exploration of adornment, fluctuating between the raw, refined, and robust. 

The idea was to align the look and feel with the evolution of the brand’s aesthetic and offering. Of course, having such a small footprint, the use of space and materiality was particularly strategic.

“Oscillating between the natural and refined, etched and polished, robust and delicate, the new space embraces tensions and dualities with hand-finished aluminium and sandstone displays, encapsulating our ever-evolving design ethos,” remarks SARAH & SEBASTIAN.

With a design centred on themes of metallurgy, the hero of the palette is ALUSION architectural stabilised aluminium foam. Produced as continual flat sheets, ALUSION creates strong, lightweight panels, similar in appearance to a metallic sponge, with virtually limitless design and architectural applications. And the perfect solution for the reimagined SARAH & SEBASTIAN store.

“ALUSION offered a really unique texture and finish to the other metal fabrications we were working with. As ALUSION is the primary finish, it was important that expressed a certain tactility and wasn’t too cold, flat or reflective,” says Kevin Ho, founder, Akin Atelier.


ALUSION’s versatility and uniqueness attracted Akin Atelier to use this lightweight material to begin with, and also because it beautifully “underlines the verticality of the store with a gentle curve that catches the light in a really subtle and interesting way,” comments Alexandra Holman, associate, Akin Atelier.

As with any project, most rewarding for the architects, and co-founders, was seeing their ideas come to spectacular life, particularly their ever-evolving design ethos reflected so well in their Paddington store, once again celebrating an ultra-modern space within its much-loved heritage-listed site.

Project details

Project: SARAH & SEBASTIAN Paddington store refurbishment

Architect: Akin Atelier

Builder: Emac Constructions

Product: ALUSION Mid Cell, one-sided wall panels

Photography: Terence Chin