Box 5 Interview / Nicholas Alexander and Levy Restaurants

nickruneckles1

We interview Nick Runeckles of Nicholas Alexander, designers of Space 5 at the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards 2012/13

Other than your own, which is your favourite restaurant or bar and why?

In general, I would have to say my favourite restaurant is Cervejario Ramiro, in Lisbon. It’s a seafood restaurant serving the best quality seafood simply. Spider crab, hot buttery toast, and cold beer. Lovely.

What do you find most inspiring about the Box Project and why?

We had a fixed list of materials, a set location and a set venue to work with. All locked in a box. A controlled space to work in! It’s great to have so many competing requirements for a space, and a fixed range of materials.

Roy and his team have helped shape the needs of the structure, and working to meet their requirements really gave us a framework early on. Finally, we’ve spent a lot of time with Simon Cotton and guys from Breezefree who have provided the magnificent canopy, and gave us a chance to play at being engineers as well as designers!

What design challenges did you face with your box?

Fitting the maximum number of chefs in the minimum space, whilst using the least materials possible. And coordinating a diverse set of suppliers and other interested parties in a way that everyone would get a result they are happy with!

Which material in your box do you find most interesting to work with and why?

We’ve not worked with Dendrolight before, so that’s been fun to play with as it performs well structurally, as well as being light and environmentally sound.

Where have you taken your inspiration from for your box?

We imagined our space as a showcase for not only our materials but also the chefs working inside. The organization of each space is a break down of 3 intersecting cubes which reduce in material volume and density at each step. This results in a series of voids and openings where the activities and production inside are framed and celebrated.

What are you looking forward to most about the Awards ceremony this year?

The food! Definitely not presenting awards, but very much meeting up with our friends. We’re bringing our whole team, so it will be a lively evening…

Roywestwood

We interview Roy Westwood of Levy Restaurants, who are hosting Space 5 at the awards this year.

Q1. Other than your own, which is your favourite restaurant or bar and why?

Dabbous, the best food I have ever had. Really unpretentious, very relaxed environment, Slick casual service, full of purposeful contradictions, Oskar and Ollie the owners are amazingly passionate about what they do. The have such a responsible attitude and are uncompromising when it comes to doing things right.

Q2. What attracts you to a bar or restaurant?

The ambience and atmosphere, comfort, previous memorable experiences. Simple great food.

Q3. What would be your ideal location for a new restaurant or bar?

Guildford in Surrey, Guildford is just an amazing town, it is definitely short of quality independent restaurants. Many of the brands and chains are already in Guildford but some more quality independents doing things a little differently with genuine passion would be a welcome addition.

Q4. Which is your favourite Restaurant & Bar Design Awards 2012/13 shortlisted project, and why?

Given the quality of the nominations this year it would be impossible for me to pick one favourite, just impossible. I think this shows just how much the restaurant scene has developed. This year is by far the best selection of nominations. It is going to be so interesting to see who becomes the outright winner. The judges this year have a very tough job!

Q5. What is your favourite materials to work with, and why?

At the moment I seem to have an un-resistible draw towards blackened and mild steel, it’s just so perfectly imperfect and so versatile, yet full of character.

Q6. What are you looking forwards to most about the Awards ceremony this year?

The venue and the concept of the award this year is so different that I am genuinely excited to see it all come together. I also love the fact that 5 spaces have been developed by different creative groups and yet will work seamlessly in synergy one with another, that is a very exciting combination. I am also extremely excited by the food we will be serving this year.

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