In the new wing of Somerset House is a fresh, engaging space designed by Briony Fitzgerald Design. Spring is a feminine, inviting space which breaks away from the traditional English pub of days gone by, and rather creates a light airy restaurant with warm textured layers. The project was a collaborative process, with project architect Roberta Columbo and Stuart Forbes + Associates.
Inspiration for the design was drawn from nature. Artisans from the local area were selected to contribute to the artwork, with natural elements playing a significant part in combining the food and the materials together harmoniously. The restaurant will bring Skye Gyngell’s acclaimed ingredient-led cooking to the fore, with her honest simplicity and using only the very best seasonal ingredients, with the materials of the interior echoing this ethos.
The reception area was encased in earthly waxed plaster walls of terracotta and 200 year old Dinesen oak floors. The studio created a bespoke, curved white sculptured Corian desk, and selected an impressive ‘Verre Eglomise’ (gilded glass) installation by Emma Peascod to frame the wall behind the bar.
A branching bronze chandelier by Lindsey Adelman grows above, while the Arabescato Corchia marble bar invites visitors into the dining room, complimented by the woollen sofas in hues of soft pink. From the entrance the “blossoms” installation in the main space draws the eye across the large interior space.
This striking installation of porcelain blossoms by Valeria Nascimento blends seamlessly with the textured, pale blue and white grasscloth papered walls. Hovering above are globes of opaque glass, clustered to form Apparatus – glass ‘cloud’ chandeliers. The upholstered soft jersey caramel leather of Mario Bellini Cab chairs welcome guests to relax into the sumptuous space.
In the conservatory a combination of waxed leaf, plastered wall panels, a canopy of foliage and olive trees create an more informal dining experience. With Stuart Forbes metal and glass roof finishing the look.
The furniture showcases the exquisite craftsmanship of the artists who made them and a real integrity for the space. The sheer scale and the quality of the location’s light had considerable influence on the design process and what was needed in each part of the space.
Traditional materials such as leather, marble, timber, paper and stone have been used throughout, as well as waxed plaster and brass. The designers were determined to create and source pieces in keeping with the tradition and historical prominence of Somerset House.
Images © Briony Fitzgerald Design