#1 SEAN CONNOLLY
Designed by : Alexander and Co (Dubai, UAE)
Sean Connolly at Dubai Opera is a restaurant and bar with an outdoor courtyard and sky garden.
The project was designed around Sean Connolly’s cooking style, and emphasises the sea through scale and texture.
The poetry of the oyster shell was used through the design story and can be seen with the curved booth seating, round forms hanging from the ceiling, and delicate, light, and layered materials.
By using everyday materials, Alexander and Co have been successful in creating a unique space, with reference to colour tones from the ocean.
While comprehensive in material and texture, the design reflects spaciousness and honest offerings from an internationally recognised chef.
Using light coloured materials in the restaurants surrounding environment lightens the room and makes it feel spacious, much like the ocean.
Focusing darker colour through the furniture really highlights the delicacy and focus of a seafood restaurant’s nature, the experience of eating and who you are sharing it with.
Notes: I love the colour palette and range of materials used in this restaurant interior. The variation between the suede, brushed copper, leathers, concrete, rattan, matte black, wood and stainless steel creates an elegant ambience. Difference in seating types are a must as the restaurant seats 350 people, and Alexander and Co. have succeeded in providing diners with alternative seating styles for both formal and informal occasions. Whether it be at the bar, in a booth, or outdoors, every situation looks luxurious and comforting. The cleanliness and sophistication of the restaurant design reflects Dubai’s high standard of architecture, interiors, and atmosphere. The aesthetic details are outstanding, for example the negative detail in the stairs pictured middle, the curve in the top of the outdoor bench seating, the form of the ambient lighting, flooring merging into planks pictured right to create zones, and mesh detailing on the reverse side of booth seating pictured top. Overall, this is one of my favourite restaurant interiors to date.
Designed by : Foolscap Studio (Victoria, Australia)
Chandon was designed with class. With reference to vineyards, fizzing bubbles, and popping corks, Foolscap Studio have created a restaurant and bar for champagne brand Moet and Chandon in Yarra Valley.
Working closely with a budget, Foolscap Studio created an open plan solution removing only a few walls. There were no other structural changes undertaken.
By reflecting vineyards, Foolscap Studio have picked up the colour scheme from seasonal changes, and the story and process of the wine making.
With references to autumn, the colour palette expresses warm and natural tones creating an inviting environment, while highlighting the rolling grapevine fields in summer with muted green tones.
The suspended disc structure rotates, and mimics spontaneity in lifting up and popping a champagne cork. "Dynamic, buoyant, and delicately-weighted, this sculptural pièce de resistance projects a sparkling patina in a playful take on the unpredictable nature of bubbles," said Foolscap Studio.
Foolscap studio also completed tasting and retail spaces for Moet and Chandon in the open plan space.
Notes: Foolscap Studio have created an exceptional space playing with the principles of Moet and Chandon’s product and environment it is set in. I love how they have expressed the nature, physical form of the product, and actions of popping a bottle in the interior colours, form, and textures. By doing this, the interior is relevant and expresses the elegance and class of Moet and Chandon. I think the rotating suspended discs are a real feature and focal point of the design as they help to break the visual lines of the barn shaped ceiling, while expressing a delicate interaction with the space. I think the details of this design are well thought out, such as the rose coloured lighting in first right photo which once again reflects the product. Worn brown leather, mid toned wood, and terracotta panels help to naturalise the interior and create a strong palette that highlights dusty pinks, copper details, and sky blues.
Designed by : Office For Political Innovation (Madrid, Spain)
Romola is inside a mid-century building, and has been transformed from a garage into an open plan dining experience without altering the original structure.
Architecture in Madrid has been suffering for a number of years because of low budget, lack of quality with trades, and large corporates lack of thirst for quality. Romola is an interception of these normalities, and an injection of quality back into the city’s ecosystem and architecture scene.
Romola is the result of the aim to work only with high quality materials, skilled manufacturers, and trades.
Described as a ‘marble-made tent in the galaxy’, the interior stands out among the more common austere cafeterias of Madrid.
The interior is split into two levels - first for sweet treats and snacks, and the second (pictured) for dine in, with a strong focus on healthy food offerings. No added sugar, trans fat or refined oils are used in their offerings. ‘Guilt free’ food and an indulgent interior pairs nicely for those wanting to experience a high quality meal that includes food in its natural state.
Notes: This interior screams extravagance, I love how Office For Political Innovation have gone against the normality of interior design in Madrid and created an environment that really works and makes a statement. The design shouldn’t work but for some reason it does, and I think it is because the designers have gone all out and kept a strong, consistent base material, marble. The flamboyance of the marbled walls with the strong colour palette sets a refined environment that is busy texturally. There is a relationship between the ceiling and floor which gives the room height, and the foliage hanging down also creates a relationship between the space so customers feel engaged. The curved forms of the bold velvet and leather furniture, with the strong angular triangles above, is a juxtaposition of colour and form. ‘A marble-made tent in the galaxy’ is a perfect description as after walking through the streets and entering Madrid interiors, it would feel extraterrestrial. Offering ‘guilt-free’ food is a contemporary offering as this relates to the interior on a natural level, and enhances the beauty of the quality and consideration that occurred with the interior fit out, and its offerings. As a statement interior and a change in Madrid’s typical interior fit outs, Romola is a beautiful chance that is highly successful.
#4 THE LIVINGROOM
Designed by : Design Haus Liberty (Chelsea, London)
This conservatory space is at the heart of My Chelsea Hotel in London.
Caters for both buffet and a menu.
Inspired by organic form and nature, Design Haus Liberty have created a relaxing, comfortable, and natural themed environment, hence its name ‘The Livingroom’.
Featuring plants in the design highlights the fact that their place in the world impacts every living thing. Recognising and incorporating this gives value to the space.
Natural light is a key feature, highlighting the wellbeing and impact of plants, but also keeping the atmosphere light and airy. By opening up the ceiling, the elements outside are translated into the interior. This creates an ever changing interior due to a rainy day creating a different feel compared to a sunny one.
The brass bar provides an anchor point which draws you into the space.
The chesterfield style banquette seating compliments the heritage architecture, which subtly reflects the culture and history of the hotel while maintaining a modern interior.
Notes: The simplicity of this restaurant interior is striking. I love how the monochromatic scheme with hints of brass highlights the foliage in the interior. This reflects on the story and aim of the design, and that is to highlight the nature and importance of plants. This restaurant encapsulates a sense of luxury perfectly fitting in Chelsea, London, and also as part of a Victorian hotel. The soft furnishings mimic the comfort of a living room, using lots of cushions on comforting leather banquette seating, and plump armchairs that you can really sink into. For more functional restaurant seating, there are options for bar stools, wooden dining chairs, and cane mesh arm chairs that offer a firmer seat for being upright. The sleek furniture chosen gives a residential feel, and is warmed by the feature brass used, and large scale wooden herringbone floor panels. By using a larger scale herringbone format, the space translates into a more elaborate and luxurious interior.
Designed by : Merge Interiors (Moscow, Russia)
Merge Interiors specialise in hospitality. Although they are based in Moscow, they have input into international projects, giving them a global outlook.
Rybtorg is a seafood restaurant therefore the materials chosen relate to the reflections and organic forms of the ocean and waves.
Wood is a prominent material that grounds the design.
Black painted walls are a negative wall covering that aids with highlighting the overhead gold chain feature, and the rustic wooden furniture.
Tile flooring completes a tonal colour palette.
Overhead lighting casts shadows much like swimming in the ocean, and is caught in the glimmer of a shiny material much like a flash of a fishes scales in the water.
Notes: The dominance of two feature materials creates a simple yet complex interior. Rybtorg is iconic and filled with a flowing definition of elegance, complemented and highlighted by black painted walls. The experience overhead is a great way to filter light and flow texture through the space. The simplicity of the furniture selection highlights the beauty of the metal mesh overhead. Something about the material and form feels very natural and organic, while not directly linking to the ocean, it subtly references an almost driftwood like texture which creates a calming atmosphere. All of the materials used have connotations of the sea in an indirect way, for example the tiles look rough like a rock face, rough wood reminds me of a jetty, or a log floating in the sea, the chain - a net, and soft greys and blues used like a tonal palette taken from the sea. I would love to eat here, I think it is simply beautiful.
Overall: For a restaurant interior, the key aspects are seen through colour, form, texture, lighting, and layout. These five things have a direct play with the overall feeling and look of an interior, giving lots of exploration in terms of the core service, offerings, and theme. Each restaurant had 1-3 key features in the space and the rest complimentary therefore materials chosen have to be both functional and in line with the feature direction. Lighting alone sets the scene and the pendants or lights themselves can also be a feature in the space. This helps to break the line between the table setting, walls, and ceiling. Zoning is important and is well demonstrated in #1, as it helps to break visual lines, and maintains an interesting atmosphere that gives option for customers. Zoning is seen through differing colour, texture, and form. While it is crucial that these factors still blend with each other as one space, restaurant design in general is so different to one of an office or home, as humans choose to eat in this space, and it must offer something a little different than usual.