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Meet the women who made Crystalbrook Albion

In honour of International Women’s Day, we’re taking a moment to reflect on a few of the women who’ve made Crystalbrook Albion (formerly Little Albion) what it is today: their achievements, their stories, and how they helped shaped your home away from home.

The Sisters of the Good Samaritan

At the turn of the 20th century, the building that is now Crystalbrook Albion was originally constructed as a convent, the home of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan, a religious congregation formed in 1857. Originally located in Sydney’s Pitt Street, the Sisters were required to relocate in order for the construction of Central Station. The Former Primitive Church, located next door at 82 Albion Street, was acquired on behalf of the Sisters in 1901.

The Sisters provided education to local children in Surry Hills from within the deconsecrated church until a new school building was built in 1921 across the road at 96 Albion Street. Student numbers dwindled by the 1960s, leading to the eventual closure of the school in 1968, with the Sisters moving out of the convent in 1969.

Cressida Kennedy and Connie Alessi, Interior Designers

Every room, corridor and space at Crystalbrook Albion is unwaveringly unique in its finish and elicits a different mood. For each considered and effortlessly gorgeous space, we have Connie Alessi and Cressida Kennedy to thank.

With imagination and passion, Kennedy and Alessi thoughtfully fashioned interiors which fuse Art Deco style with 70s vibrancy. As you take in the bespoke brass mirrors (some which echo the neighbouring church), seventies-style ‘sunken lounge’ in the lobby, walls of green or pink herringbone tiles, and splashes of pink terrazzo, you’re reading the handwriting of Kennedy and Alessi’s labour of love, a labour which took three years to complete.

Both women are now directors of their own respective design firms, Alessi Design + Build and Space Control Design, leading the way for women in the design and construction industry.

Ann Cape, Artist

Scale the stunning heritage staircase at Crystalbrook Albion from the Ground Floor up, and you’ll be greeted by the faces of seven Surry Hills characters, whose portraits adorn the walls up to the hotel’s topmost level. Commissioned by Crystalbrook Albion’s art curator Nicholas Samartis, Ann Cape beautifully captured these local heroes (and villains), perfectly summoning the notorious past of Surry Hills.

A celebrated painter, Ann has been a finalist in the Archibald Prize and recipient of over 80 awards in the three decades that she has been involved in the Australian and international art scene.

Kerrie Brown, Textile Designer

As the textile designer for the hotel, Kerrie designed a sweeping range of custom velvet throws, patterned upholstery textiles, cushions, curtains, and wallpapers to work with the heritage-turned modern blend.

The bold, energetic Kerrie Brown signature style draws on her background as a  set decorator, working on international films including The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, Mission Impossible and The Quiet American with acclaimed directors and producers and she received an Academy Award® nomination for Babe.

Following her movie career, Kerrie moved back to Sydney where she set up her textile design business and studio. Eight years on, she is now one of Australia’s most prominent textile and wallpaper designers.