If you are a true restaurant and bar connoisseur, then you will be more than aware that the truly special ones have that bit extra, something beyond the delicious food and drinks. This is, of course, the architecture, the décor, and the design, where the most perfect symbiotic amalgamation has been reached and space becomes a fluid concept. To marvel at and honour the restaurants and bars that have entered this year’s UK and International Restaurant & Bar Design Awards, we have compiled a list of our favourites from 2012/13 Winners and 2013/14 Entries to showcase the talent and imagination of the world’s top architects, designers and hospitality operators.
Atrium Champagne Bar
Atrium Champagne bar is based at the ME Hotel, London, and was designed by Foster + Partners, whose architecture always incorporates a sustainable approach. Atrium was anointed as the Overall Best Bar Winner of the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards 12/13. The space utilises natural light to breath-taking effect through its sky-high ceiling that channels the rays through the roof, reminiscent of a cavern. Foster + Partners also have dynamic wall projections which show their forward thinking modernity.
Having opened in Setagaya-ku, Tokyo, in 2013, this café is designed by the Japanese design office id and is beautifully minimalist but with a light-hearted edge. The depth of meaning behind the design is characteristic of the id design duo who took inspiration from trees and forests, since the Japanese word ‘ki’ translates as ‘tree’. The use of a white palette creates an open space where the environment plays a key role, since the coffee coloured steel ‘trees’ become furniture themselves and serve as table legs and hangers, giving them such a wide-ranging versatility beyond their visual originality.
The Romania-based Don Café brand opened a branch in Kosovo where the designers, Innarch, brought to life their concept of a modern café space in this tactile haven. Innarch have chosen not to stray far from the purpose and heart of Don Café, therefore the inspiration stems from ‘sacks filled with coffee grains’. The muted brown, stone and beige tones are also a take on the colour of coffee bean sacks while the pillars in between tables are coated with textile coffee sacks, creating a multi-sensory experience, as one presumes the café will smell of freshly brewed coffee. The walls themselves, made of plywood, arch and undulate pleasingly, smoothly extending out to form seats, further carrying this ‘coffee bean’ motif.
Situated near the gardens of the old Valencia General Hospital, the MuVIM Terrace is part of the Museo Valenciano de la Illustracion y la Modernidad. Carmen Baselga Studios designed this outdoor, urban space with the intention of providing versatility and an area that incorporates the aesthetics of its surroundings. In this way, everything is in two shades of grey to ensure that they are “in harmony with the concrete of the façade, and the black of the pavement”. The striking, individualism of the design is encapsulated in the integrated, coloured sunshades on the tables that have a playful, as well as functional, aspect as they throw different patterns onto the floor.
Camp & Furnace
Shortlisted this year in the Pop Up category, this Liverpudlian venue has all the community spirit and atmosphere expected of a cultural hub whose space has been maximised and made 4D to incorporate an indoor boutique caravan hotel, bar, eatery, nightclub and studios. The multi-purpose venue was designed by a Smiling Wolf and FVMA collaboration that sought to redevelop a series of disused warehouses. Think exposed brick, long benches with pastel coloured lines at sporadic intervals, neon lamps, string lights on the ceiling and an abundance of natural material; though you may get a sense of the bare bones of the space but not the restraint and detail of the design. Come explore the great indoors.
The More Coffee & Brunch
In this café situated in Seoul, Betwin Space Design has managed to channel the illusion of space into a relatively narrow interior through their use of white and pale colours. The café reflects the clients’ desire for a modern minimalist theme and the designers’ for an element of ‘refined chic’, both complementing each other. The lines are left uncluttered and clean, though there is the exciting structure of tangled, intertwined thin rods towards the rear of the café that recalls a chaotic nest in the way it encases lights and casts menacing shadows across the walls. The Betwin designers brilliantly execute the ensuing contradictions between light and dark, and metaphorical noise and silence.
Bogotá is home to this high-end restaurant and bar, capable of holding 500, which was designed by MEMA Arquitectos. The interior was made using raw, authentic materials in order to reflect the environment of the venue itself and provide it with ‘soul’.The designers have played with sound and acoustics throughout by using timber weave and building the ceiling at different heights in different areas, presumably making the need (‘trend’) to scream at your companion, as the cacophony of surrounding noise builds to a deafening roar, obsolete. El Fabuloso had the aim to recreate the atmosphere and experience of a picnic, and with MEMA’s meticulous approach they have created a multi-faceted and textured space that is tranquil, with its terraces and gardens, homely, with the open kitchen, and atmospheric, well it is Bogotá after all.