Situated in the heart of South Kensington, The Hour Glass is an intimate, neighbourhood pub serving great pints and fantastic food.
In conjunction with landlords South Kensington Estates, Luke Mackay and David Turcan are at the helm – the wildly successful duo behind Brompton Food Market.
The plan was always to reclaim this tired old boozer and return it to its former glory. Robustly built, the 1935 property is a thing of beauty, packed with character and lots of original features. Patrick Thomas Design, the architectural studio behind Brompton Food Market, was engaged to undertake the design of the Hour Glass refurbishment, with Trinity Solutions Group working as main contractor.
In order to discover more information on the refurbishment, Premier Hospitality spoke to Director at Patrick Thomas Design, Patrick Thomas, who said:
“After working as a lead designer for a large design company for 17 years, I decided to start my own business around 20 months ago. I specialise in large city centre masterplans and larger buildings but through my career I have also maintained an interest in shop fitting work, encompassing bars, restaurants, delis and interiors.
“The Hour Glass is a traditional pub – a London boozer – and essentially the project aim was to move the manager’s flat from the first floor up to the second floor of the building, to use the space to create a kitchen and dining room, and to renovate the pub downstairs which was in need of an overhaul.
“When I first saw the building, it was beautiful but cluttered internally and externally, and it was in need of a new lease of life. We all agreed on the brief – to restore The Hour Glass into a timeless London Pub, avoiding typical gastro-pub stereotypes.
“We remodelled the pub; the toilets were in the wrong place, some even blocked the front windows – so we reconfigured the plan at all levels. The pub has had items added to it over time and original features were obscured. We removed the clutter and rationalised the layout.”
Original features in the pub include a Charrington back bar, as well as some beautiful internal and external detailing such as ceramic House of Toby artwork panels and unique ‘winged hourglass’ mosaic artwork.
A dated over bar unit was removed and replaced with a bespoke glass and brass unit to allow views through to the back bar and create a sophisticated and traditional appearance. Its curved design relates to the hour glass theme. Dark wood timber panelling was also extended, upholding the theme of tradition and simplicity.
Upstairs in the new linear dining room, mirrors were introduced at each end to create the illusion of more space and extend the glass theme. These were handmade distressed mirrors with a bronze tint and mottled effect, which softens reflections.
Patrick Thomas Design sourced reclaimed timber panels from suppliers and salvage yards all over the country, each with their own story – some even came from church organ housing and antique Georgian cabinets. Combined with brass lighting and brass fittings, the composition emits a warm, rich feeling to the dining room, creating an intriguing space abundant in reflection.
The first floor dining room now has 28 covers, with an open pass kitchen installed in the ‘prow’ end of the building.
“Much of the Hour Glass interior character is created by lighting, so it was hugely important to choose the right fittings. We couldn’t find any existing fittings that suited our vision. As a design team we were all keen avoid the use of generic Industrial light fittings. We made and modified lights and sourced rare fittings on eBay. There is not a single light in The Hour Glass that can be bought off the shelf.
“We worked with Manchester craftsman and 3D designer Jon Male to create unique lights and details – such as hour glass brass bar hooks and a purpose made feature hourglass in a beautiful brass case. The Hour Glass had to have an hour glass.
“The Hour Glass pub project is really important to me. I formed a connection with historic London pubs as a student while visiting the works of Wren and Hawksmoor – there always seemed to be a pub nearby. To have had the opportunity to work on one and to be able to restore a part of London pub history has been a really exciting process.”