Swan Café is colourful, modern and airy. But Rushmere’s characteristic flair and je ne sais quoi infuses the space. There’s no mistaking it’s a French affair, with Breton stripes and petit foulards abounding, and the tea on offer is inspired by Rushmere’s favourite Parisian brand, Mariage Frères. Local tea house Nigiro did the honours, and the steaming beverage is poured from pretty teapots with all the trappings.
Rushmere discovered Swan’s corner site while living in a loft apartment in Barrack Street. The Harrington building was undergoing renovation at the time. “I wanted the feeling of town. But I was very specific — I wanted this corner and nothing else.” She got her way, and the decision has proven to be spot-on. Glass stack doors can be opened wide to welcome the city inside.
Haldane Martin was brought on board for the interior fit-out. Swan and other bird-feather motifs in custom wall and floor tiles — Rushmere calls the swan her spirit animal — are echoed in wallpaper. Red, black, and blue accents include Haldane’s custom chairs, which are a contemporary take on bistro chairs.