David Collins Studio On Kerridge’s Bar & Grill And London Design

Creative genius Simon Rawlings shares his take on the current trends defining London’s interiors

The timeless interiors at Kerridge’s Bar & Grill, helmed by Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge, are as much a talking point as the inventive British menu. All dark wood panelling, ox blood leather banquettes and witty wall art, it delivers style and substance in equal measure. The creative team behind the design, David Collins Studio is responsible for the restaurant’s sophisticated and fun aesthetic. Here, we talk to the studio’s Creative Director, Simon Rawlings, about what inspired the transformation and the timeless trends that are informing London’s interiors.

 

What are the trending design influences in London right now?

I’m not a huge believer in trends as the very nature of them means they can date so quickly. However, I would say that in terms of the direction of restaurant design, provenance is more important than ever, as consumers become savvier and more interested in the quality of the food and drink they consume. In turn, the design reflects this. For example, at Kerridge’s Bar & Grill, you enter the double doors from the street and you see the beer barrels, real ales and fine wines. You can view the cuts of meat, watch them as they cook with seasonal vegetables on the rotisserie, select your cheese and bread from the display – it’s a completely immersive experience.

What else informed your transformation of Kerridge’s Bar & Grill?

My vision for Kerridge’s Bar and Grill was really built around what Tom and his team have created in Marlow (Kerridge’s flagship restaurant, The Hand and Flowers). It wasn’t about recreating those experiences, but instead designing an interior which connects with them – with a sense of cosiness within this incredible Victorian room and touches of nostalgia, familiarity, and ultimately, comfort. For me this room says everything about Tom’s style of hospitality – it’s bold, it’s comforting, it’s luxurious, and most of all, it’s lovable.

How did you echo the personality of Corinthia London in this space?

Having worked on areas of Corinthia London previously, with The Garden Lounge and Bassoon Bar, and with Managing Director Thomas Kochs, we understood the vocabulary of this wonderful hotel, and it was key for us to ensure that every aspect sat at ease together.

The wall art is fantastic…

The art wall was curated by West Contemporary Art. We consulted on the selection, but this was really meant to be a gallery of styles, artists and ideas.

How did you incorporate Beth Cullen-Kerridge’s sculptures, Dorsal Angel and Steve?

Each sculpture is displayed in a prominent location in the restaurant, set within the centre of rounded banquettes, which create a focus for each piece – beautifully lit so that they can each be enjoyed from every seat in the restaurant. Beth was really instrumental in positioning these exactly where she wanted, so they faced just the right way, and were lit perfectly.

According to David Collins Studio, are there any fundamental, fail-safe interior design principles that are applicable across the board?

Each project is unique and must be approached as such, and every detail considered and examined. We strive to create timeless interiors and source the very best materials from craftspeople around the world. We consider the effect of light and colour within a space, the choice of materials and the patina of those materials with age. We layer details to add depth and dimension and never lose sight of the operational necessities—for the people who will live, work and enjoy the space. There’s a sense of alchemy behind every project.

You’ve designed interiors for everyone from Pret to Petrus. Is there any particular project that you’re especially proud of?

We work across retail, hospitality, residential and maritime projects worldwide and it’s very difficult to choose one project because each is unique. However, I always remember the first time walking into 160 Piccadilly. The sheer scale was daunting, with so many unknown factors about how the architecture would easily convert into the vision. When it opened its doors as The Wolseley, it was a moment in my career when I knew I had chosen to work in the ultimate design studio.

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