Omar Shabaan comes from a long line of restaurateurs and hoteliers. In his homeland of Egypt, the Andrea Mariouteya hospitality brand has been in his family for 60 years, and today, Omar co-presides over a mini-empire of restaurants, bars and a boutique hotel. His long-standing dream, however, has been to bring the best of the Mediterranean to London, where he spends much of his life, and now he’s done exactly that, as he officially opens the doors of his own restaurant, Omar’s Place in Pimlico.
Twelve months ago, Omar was stood in a disused pub on the corner of Hugh and Cambridge Street, fantasising about a buzzing Mediterranean restaurant and bar with a creative tapas kitchen, a contemporary cocktail bar and a convivial, local-hangout atmosphere. He had a building, a Grade-II listed, four-storey Victorian corner property; and a chef, the Mallorcan-born Michelin-kitchen veteran Vicente Fortea; he just needed a design and a brand identity that would bring his dream to life.
Omar turned to Sella Concept – aka design duo Tatjana von Stein and Gayle Noonan – and gave them an open brief to shape the space and establish a graphic identity for the brand. The only stipulation was that the design should respond to the ‘sophisticated Mediterranean' character of the menu; the ‘neighbourhood haunt’ status he wanted to create, and the lively, welcoming warmth from its atmosphere.
To develop the creative concept for the restaurant, Sella Concept started with the sun – the defining element of Mediterranean lifestyle, and the biggest influence on the fresh produce of the region, as well as a link to Omar’s own Egyptian background. The circular shape of the sun became the core element of everything from the visual identity to the features and furniture of the restaurant – including the shape of the bar, the curved edges of the joinery, and the fluted banquette seating.
To make their designs a reality, Sella Concept joined forces with its long-standing collaborator, the architecture consultancy Wilson Holloway, to refurbish the challenging listed building. Wilson Holloway delivered the technical aspects of Sella Concept’s design.
‘It was a dream working with taste-makers Sella Concept to help facilitate their vision, transforming this wonderful old pub into a fantastic new venue for London’s historic Pimlico neighbourhood.’
– Alex Holloway, Director, Wilson Holloway.
It took the practice almost six months of careful revisions and negotiations to obtain the requisite permissions relating to the building’s Grade-II listing, but once these were secured, the redevelopment progressed rapidly.
The result is a bold, warm, and distinctly Milanese aesthetic, with polished terracotta walls, multicoloured terrazzo tiles, scalloped Sapele wood slats on the walls, end-grain wooden floors and tubular suede banquettes the colour of rust. Peaches and sage greens dominate the colour palette, while clean-cut brass lines create an elegant contrast with the organic curves and soft contours of the space.
‘We worked with a base of earthy colours and textures nodding to the Mediterranean background and built up a scheme from there. Our choice of materials blends the natural, organic feel of wood, with plaster walls, Corten steel and an organic colour scheme with beautiful terrazzo, brass, velvet and mirror finishes.’
– Gayle Noonan, Sella Concept
The majority of the fixtures and fittings were made bespoke for the restaurant, including sculptural wall pieces in brass and patinated metal, with other elements sourced from the likes of Carl Hansen (dining chairs), Note Design Studio (Tonello armchairs), D’Armes (RA wall lamps) and Pool (FR pendant lights).
After several months of work (including the planning labyrinth that comes with turning a listed pub building into a modern Mediterranean restaurant without cutting into its character), Omar’s Place is complete, offering space for 36 diners on its ground floor and room for a further 50 in a wine-cellar-style private-event venue downstairs, scheduled to open in mid-2018.
Soft launched on 19 February, Omar’s Place may be opening in the dead of winter but, thanks to Sella Concept, the sun will always be shining inside.
Omar Shabaan comes from a long line of restaurateurs and hoteliers. In his homeland of Egypt, the Andrea Mariouteya hospitality brand has been in his family for 60 years, and today, Omar co-presides over a mini-empire of restaurants, bars and a boutique hotel. His long-standing dream, however, has been to bring the best of the Mediterranean to London, where he spends much of his life, and now he’s done exactly that, as he officially opens the doors of his own restaurant, Omar’s...
- Year 2018
- Work finished in 2018
- Status Completed works
- Type Restaurants