Friday, 29 May 2015

Professional Project: Designing a new look for a Bistro

I recently completed a new design for a bistro in Nelson, Lancashire. I'd like to share my inspirations and the way I came up with all the ideas for the transformation.

I started with the best bits of the space itself. Namely that it catches the sun during the day and has lots of windows. Light is it's best bit. So, I decided to design a scheme which celebrated the light and enhanced it's features.

The audience there is mainly a daytime one at the moment, although they would like to do more with night-times so I had to come up with a concept which worked for both. There had already been a new menu designed based on a chalkboard style, so I had to incorporate that too. Other than that, there were few restrictions.

I decided to embrace elegance and worked on a concept based around Afternoon Tea at the Ritz in the 1930's as why not bring a bit of old world glamour to the space.

Here is my initial inspiration collage of ideas.






 
Light and airy, including plants and including the wow factor.
 
This is the design I came up with.
 
 

 
I chose a gold wallpaper which reflected light and worked around this. Lots of plants, and people would be able to see through everything if possible.



Chalkboard style prints would merge with a very dark grey - Railings by Farrow and Ball and black lampshades. (Which had a gold interior to again bounce the light around).

 
I wanted to use lots of mirrors to again embrace the light.

 
And to warm up the existing lighting to create a ambience that would translate well to a night-time look.

 
The table decorations and numbers would fit the theme, see through and I wanted to add something custom made - so chose to commission these napkin holder men made from cutlery.

 
Coffee and café-related prints would be included as it is a bistro. Here you can see a close up of the table numbers I wanted too.

 
 
I simply cut all my ideas out and sticky taped them to a large board. At this point I didn't know if they would like all the ideas, if they would say yes.
 
Luckily they did and I got the go ahead to 'make it happen'.
 
This is when my years of project management experience kicked in. I realise now that people can find this bit difficult, as there is a lot to organise but I have done so many different types of project, it's now second nature to me. Everything went very smoothly and the whole project was completed on time and under budget.
 
Now let me talk you through the build up to install.
 
As items arrived I kept placing them together to check the colours and the fit.



This is the wallpaper, with a mirror and the base of the lights. They really work well together. This was very pleasing as these mirrors were antiques and could not be easily replaced.


 
My commissioned spoon men arrived and they are a joy to behold. Everyone who saw them loved them too which was a great feeling in advance of everything coming together.



Wallpaper arriving. I really wanted to unravel it all to have a look but resisted!

 
Signs went up announcing to the public that the refurbishment was happening. We had 4 days to get it all done.
 

 
Then the big orders started to arrive. Thankfully only 2 days before beginning, just in time, and this meant we could use a room for storage.
 
There were boxes and chairs everywhere.

 
I'm very glad I allowed plenty of time for unpacking. Also, we managed to get all the new tables put together in advance of the 4 days as I knew it was going to be tight - time-wise.


 
After I started to unpack some of the items I started to be able to get a real feel of how it would all come together in reality. It was also a chance for the staff in the bistro to see what it would really be like. Comments included feeling like they were in Jurassic Park, Hawaii and Cuba!
 

 
Every time I saw this sign I kept thinking this day was special as this project was really enjoyable.

 
Beautiful green foliage.

 
More reflections. I particularly was pleased with the way the foliage reflects.

 
Glamorous mirrors. These are huge.

 
Chalkboard style prints and frames. Plus more mirrors. For a space which is mostly windows I do think I managed to fit the maximum number of mirrors in.

 
Foliage and table numbers. I loved these together. I spent a long time searching for the right foliage, this is asparagus fern, it's light and airy and very see through.  



 
Gold palm tree lamps with black shades which are gold inside. This again reflects light and warmth.

 
Spoon men napkin holders. Yes, I am obsessed with them!

 
90 chairs. Again you can see through these so it fits well together. And they are comfortable which was important.

 
I chose three large bamboo plants, carefully placed, to draw the eye across the whole space.  

 
Working late into the night we started to install all the items and it really started to become exciting.

 
Here is a sneak peak. Full images will follow soon.



 
The salt and pepper holders were very simple, but really nice to hold and use.



Here is the army of spoon-napkin-men with their napkins. It's like a much cooler and quirkier version of the terracotta army.





A small peak at the wallpaper. It was so great to see it go up as it has such a large pattern, it's almost impossible to get a feel for it from a small sample.


Tune in soon and I'll post more pictures showing it all together.