Briefed to create a brand identity and interior for Dabbous, a new restaurant situated on a corner site on Whitfield street, London, Brinkworth took inspiration from the minimal and natural presentation of the food to create a raw, industrial space and a contemporary, restrained brand identity.
Working from a shell site, Brinkworth used materials with authenticity - steel, reeded glass; concrete and wire mesh - to define the architecture of the space. This bare-boned approach allows the space to grow and accumulate as the restaurant evolves. Brinkworth-designed furniture - waxed, timber tables, timber and black leather chairs are coupled with walls lined in burnt timber. An eclectic selection of light fixtures, including bespoke, coloured blown glass, contrast with and soften the otherwise almost brutal material palette.
A metal mesh screen separates the route to the bar from the dining space and discreetly hides the bar traffic. The same device is used to contain coat and bag storage that allows diners to mind their belongings while creating an acoustic buffer. The metal mesh is also used behind the waiter station and at the wine store. The kitchen remains part of the room, cleverly screened by reeded glass allowing diners to sense the motion of the chef and his team.
The client had requested that the space was to be kept sparse and wanted to avoid decorative wall pieces, instead, Brinkworth designed a free-standing floor to ceiling metal framework which gives a sense of division while at the perimeter of the space frames the wall behind, drawing attention to the purposely raw wall finishes.
A jewel like cluster of blown, clear glass, tiered light fittings highlight the steel mesh back drop and timber staircase to the lower ground floor creating an immediately recognisable route to the bar area. To further increase prominence, the staircase has been turned through 90 degrees to ensure an instant view of the concrete bar on decent.
The large windows of the corner site, floods the space with light in the daytime while at night, the widows reflect the sparkly effect of the blown glass lights.
The bar is kept raw and minimal. Brinkworth-designed, timber and steel benches and large tables predominate with high seating at the bar. Leather and steel armchairs and banquette accentuate the snug under the stairs.
Above the door, the word Dabbous is picked out in simple typography, a logo developed by Brinkworth, who also did all the branding including business cards, menu and menu holders. The menu has been designed to ensure it can be easily and inexpensively evolved in-house and consists of a branded timber on timber clipboard coupled with soft grey paper. A Brinkworth-designed rubber stamp ensures that the logo can be applied to any printed menu and quickly and elegantly brands the paper.
Karen Byford, associate director at Brinkworth says: “Ollie Dabbous is a very talented young chef with a strong vision, it was a pleasure to help Ollie create the space which is to house his dream.”
Olli Dabbous commented: “I had a very clear vision of how I wanted the site to look. Brinkworth clearly understood this, listened and suggested as opposed to imposed, and worked closely alongside the contractors to deliver a finished product far superior than I considered achievable on our budget.”
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