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The RAFI Gallery: Artists In Residence

The RAFI Gallery: Local Artists In Residence

“RAFI isn’t bound by the rules of design; all the elements come together to make sense as a whole”

Thoughtfully designed by Luchetti Krelle, RAFI is celebrated for its maximalist, youthful interiors and the fusion of creative concepts that may not align in theory. However, when these elements come together, they effortlessly form a cohesive whole.

RAFI’s interiors and design came together as a glass box of sorts that had a concept before it had a design. The concept aimed to establish an environment where the vision of a sustainable seafood eatery, characterised by its luminous, airy, and invigorating ambiance, harmoniously converged. The name itself derives from the initials of co-owners Hamish Watts and Ben Carroll kids, and their youthful energy embodies itself in the venue. The art is bright and energetic with signature pieces commissioned on behalf of RAFI by Hamish’s friend (also known as the Banksy of North Sydney). Apart from the bold splashes, the natural colours of the interiors are designed to blend well with the concept of fresh, seasonal food.

“The interiors are not bound by rules in relation to design, they make sense as a whole. There’s a juxtaposition of meeting points of tiles, stone, the materials used that don’t immediately cohesive, but they clash in a way that they create so much character” – Hamish Watts.


Read on to find out more about key pieces by celebrated local artists, highlighting RAFI’s goal as a restaurant for tomorrow that forges sustainability and connection.

Hello Mantle by Zoe Jones

Sydney born artist Zoe Jones has always been drawn to art, and after years of dabbling in graphic design, illustration, animation and more, she settled on textiles as the medium for her art and storytelling.

Sourcing unique, recycled and found materials with embellishes and jarring textures, she works intuitively in response to the materials.

The piece at RAFI titled ‘Hello Mantle’ uses a combination of locally sourced and hand-dyed; madagascan raffia, recycled silks & cotton in earthy red ochre & pink clay tones, layered like the earth’s core.

“I think it ties in beautifully with the restaurant through its colour palette and composition, and seems to speak to Rafi’s aesthetics in interior design but also through the menu. The terracotta orange in the artwork tying in with the orange umbrellas and the blood orange mignonette; The burgundy raffia, tying into the wooden chairs but also the crispy eggplant. Compositionally it features a combination of straight and curved edges which Rafi does so beautifully throughout the restaurant! It’s also nice to know Rafi holds similar values to contributing to sustainability as I do when I make my art”.