JULIE MANFREDI HUGHES
With the incorporation of Décor JMH, Julie Manfredi Hughes has honed her skills with a sharp focus on interior design. With decades of experience as part of and directing design teams, she provides distinctive and personalised design and decoration services. All projects are sensitive to the client’s needs, yielding results that both delight and are empathetic. For her, it’s about process and discovery.
Historically, as the director of Manfredi Enterprises, Julie was one of Australia’s most celebrated restaurateurs. She has influenced Australian food culture with decades of projects that took risks and innovated through design, experience and aesthetic, whilst staying true to heritage and tradition. Her strong sense of style has seen the creation of restaurants synonymous with design, collaborating with industry veterans such as Vince Frost (Frost Design) and architect Luigi Rosselli.
The iconic the Restaurant Manfredi was opened in 1983 in Sydney’s Ultimo, with Julie taking a leadership role and implementing a complete overhaul in 1988. The restaurant was a fresh statement of modern simplicity, shattering the mould of clichéd Italian dining in Australia. The interiors were ground-breaking for hospitality at the time and saw her working closely with local artists and artisans, including commissioning Rosselli to design a dining chair as part of her commitment to a unique and contemporary dining experience. It was during this decade Julie also commissioned Rosselli to work with her on an overhaul of a weatherboard workers cottage in Sydney’s Queens Park, her first family home.
The Restaurant Manfredi closed its doors and Julie opened Bel Mondo in 1996 with chef Stefano Manfredi, ushering in a bold new era of Australian dining in the heart of the Rocks district. Rosselli was again called upon, with Julie directing a concept brief that would strongly inform a New York sentiment. It would be the first time the city had laid eyes on such a chic fit-out in a raw industrial setting.
With her now well-renowned eye for design and industry experience, Julie was a partner in the launch of Bells at Killcare in 2007. She worked on the concept for the restaurant and the redevelopment of the boutique hotel, as well as redefining the Bells brand. Julie also worked on the development of the sister hotel of Bells; as part of the team that conceptualised the branding, fit out and overall offering of the uber luxurious Pretty Beach House.
In 2010, Julie, Stefano and Rosselli conceived Osteria Balla. The restaurant opened as part of the newly renovated The Star complex and took its inspiration from The Futurists and the contemporary Italian osteria movements. The large-scale restaurant offered an upscale casual style of dining in a premium setting.
Since 2000, Julie has also been a partner in Espresso di Manfredi, a highly successful coffee brand inspired by the generous, casual authenticity of modern café culture. She collaborated closely with Frost on the brand aesthetic, creating a truly modern Italian brand. Her influence over the brand is felt throughout, notably with a collaboration with designer Roderick Bamford on the ceramic designs for the Espresso di Manfredi cup suite.