James Waterworth of Alexander Waterworth Interiors talks to us about the team’s win at the 2013 Restaurant and Bar Design Awards for Kerbisher and Malt, Ealing, and how he and Alexander Evangelou conceptualised the project.
What has been the effect of you winning the Fast/Casual category at the Restaurant and Bar Design Awards this year, and how has it influenced your design plans for future projects?
As a young company, it’s an honour to be recognised early on and gives our company a great platform within the industry. We’re not sure it’s consciously affected our design plans for the future but it’s certainly opened up more doors to clients who we may not have got otherwise.
Tell us about the winning project Kerbisher and Malt, and how you were inspired to create it.
We’d just finished its sister in Shepherd’s Bush which does very well but we wanted to create something completely different to it. The food itself is unpretentious and the local environment is quite family orientated so we started with a concept of a fun space with a mixture of rough materials and modern fittings. We try always create something which we’d want to dine in.
Give us an example of a really great food and drink venue that is design-led, and works well for customers, and why this is?
Soho House Group we think are one of the few operators who are properly design-led yet runs the space well and with a solid food platform. An example would be the Electric Diner which Vicky Charles, of Soho House, designed – the look is great, the food is good and it all stands to create an amazing atmosphere.
Which hospitality operator would you love to work for and why?
There’s a few out there at the moment doing some really incredible projects and pushing the industry to new places. Out in New York, Gabriel Stulman performs miracles in each of his spaces – all with different food concepts which is incredibly rare in the industry. Hotel Costes are simply, Hotel Costes, and it would be an honour to do something with them.
In London, the young Gladwin Brothers are doing a great job with the Shed in Notting Hill and I’m sure they will be doing some big things in the future. We like how the three of them bring something to the table – no pun intended.
What trends do you foresee for the next few years in designing for this sector?
Every man and their dog are doing ‘industrial chic’ at the moment and we’re avoiding. We think there will be a strong mid-century revival which we’re seeing creep in now. Operators will be getting more daring with the location of the properties, with off prime street, non ground floor spaces being used much more.
Can you tell us any of your plans for 2014?
BUSY: It obviously takes time to build up a company but things are moving in a very positive way for us. 2014 will see a number of restaurants opening, both in London and New York. We’ll also be opening up an New York based office on the back of the work over there.
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