Tonality and texture are celebrated inside Byron Bay’s beloved Light Years Asian Diner

Earthy tones and awning stripes enliven the space with a sense of ‘coastal modernism’

Beloved Byron Bay spot, Light Years Asian Diner, has undergone a makeover that celebrates tonality and texture, courtesy of local practice Studio Plenty and furniture designer Sarah Ellison.

Light Years opened its first outpost in Byron Bay in 2017 and has since expanded to Newcastle, Burleigh and Noosa. To revamp its original, Light Years founders James Sullivan and Kim Stephen tapped Woods Bagot alumni Will Rathgeber to give the restaurant interiors a colourful ‘coastal modern’ vibe.

His practice, Studio Plenty makes the most of the building’s L-shaped plan, zoned into a dining area and bar, complete with a terrazzo bar top, inset with peach tones, earthy reds and clay colours.

Ellison custom designed all the furniture, which has a Moroccan bent to it, said to be inspired by the Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Marrakech. Think sweeping curves and arches, terracotta shades and thick awning striped fabrics. Local artist Heath Wae has also created two original murals for the restaurant that cut through the earth tones of the walls.

‘Sarah is very coastal’, Light Years’ founder James Sutherland told Echo. ‘Very vibrant through her colours and textures. It was a logical partnership. The first Byron Light Years was done on a thrifty budget and we have grown up since then.’

The coastal vibe continues on the menu too, where classic Asian favourites get a twist. Cocktails like the ‘Kiwi Matcha Margi’ (tequila, kiwi puree, matcha syrup and lime) and the ‘Szechuan Sour’ (infused with gin, Aperol, vermouth and orange) start things off. At the same time, mains include wok-fried Singapore chilli prawns, crispy pork belly, sticky chilli caramel, charred pineapple, herbs and pickled papaya.

Light Years has just been shortlisted for the 2023 Australian Interior Design Awards in the category of Hospitality Design. Take a look at the gallery above.

139 Jonson St , Byron Bay NSW 2481, Australia

[h/t Echo; Yellowtrace; Australian Interior Design Awards]

Photography: Jessie Prince
Photography: Jessie Prince
Photography: Jessie Prince

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