Located within the city centre and extending across two floors, GBK York designed by moreno:masey is a refurbishment scheme drawing inspiration from the passing trade of fairgrounds and tea rooms. These influences evolved distinctive parts of the scheme with elements such as the lighting, detail and material choices. Aspects of the local traditional tea rooms informed the choice of the blue hues of the rear snug on the ground floor, taking their cue from blue and white porcelain tea sets.
Visual barriers in the original restaurant were reduced or removed during the remodelling. The main area at the front of the restaurant provides flexible seating and is more brightly lit, contrasting against the snug banquette booth seating at the rear. The feature booth seating between the two works both as a break between the spaces but makes these seats the place to be seen.
The colours of the flooring and the bespoke banquette seating from Craftwood Interiors were altered so they were darker and bolder than the restaurant brand’s original ochre/terracotta colour scheme. The backs of the straight run seating were of a square stitch float button design in a striking blue tartan check fabric, while the seats and contrast buttons were in complimentary blue leather. Elsewhere a pink tartan check was used in conjunction with apple green leather, with complementing embossed motif tables. Other seating also features plain back seating with flat head-rolls and added contrast piping detailing.
The choice of the reclaimed striped timber took inspiration from the pattern of a striped fairground tent. Opening up as much as possible from the two halves of the first floor bar and kitchen to the dining areas created the element of performance at the cook and prep lines within the space. The feature timber carriage seating is a nod to the railway heritage of the city and also informed some of the early lighting choices for the scheme. The stencilled table tops and reclaimed fittings also evolved from these discussions.
The restaurant is illuminated by an eclectic selection of Skinflint lighting; including the upturned cocktail glass shaped pendants and classic designs of the Cold War era. 1950’s opaline glass and polished aluminium Czechoslovakian factory pendants, which hang alongside elegant Hungarian opaline globes, were manufactured in the 1960’s. Each light has it’s own history and these were made in Tokod, a small town close to the Danube river; making up the core lighting scheme in the main dining area.
In the booths, fifties British industrial wall lights by Maxlume, salvaged from the National Turbine facilities at Pyestock, provide feature and focus while a mixture of leather and fabric banquettes define the different spaces of the restaurant with bright vibrant colours, and tropical wallpapers. An ice cream station developed from discussion with the GBK team highlighting the volume of passing trade and allowed the restaurant to make better use of an otherwise lost area between the staircase and shopfront.
The materials and styles of seating were grouped to create different dining atmospheres and to offer flexibility for both small and large parties that frequent the restaurant. This was achieved through different banquettes, freestanding tables and chairs, including feature carriage booths close to the kitchen. Reconfiguring the layout improved both circulation and the cover count and included a condiment station which stands out and contributes to this lively and inviting restaurant.
Images © Richard Lewisohn