No. 1 Duke Street
A prominent London bar and restaurant is approaching the end of a successful first year, most recently celebrating a win at the Restaurant and Bar Design Awards in the ‘Pub’ category. At the time of opening No. 1 Duke St. was the fourth venue from Darwin & Wallace and has quickly established itself as a relaxing space for a drink and a bite to eat.
The design of the project was a collaboration between Lou Davies at Box 9 Design and Lionel Real de Azúa at Red Deer. Both spoke to Premier Hospitality to explain their work, beginning with Lionel who talked about the origins of the project and the redesign:
“Darwin & Wallace wanted the space to feel very homely, comfortable and airy at the same time. The mantra of Darwin & Wallace is ‘more home than high street’ which is one thing that we took quite seriously and really wanted to make sure the space felt like it could be an extension of a home. We were trying to rekindle a feeling of homeliness without falling back onto clichéd designs of a pub or home.
“The existing space was a purpose built pub which had basically been a student boozer for a number of years and as such it was in a poor state when we came on board. We did a lot to open up the client floor space and create what was previously the bin store into a courtyard. That was quite a challenge as there was a lot of demolition involved. Linked to that, we opened up the whole front façade so the front room and the courtyard bled into each other. There was a real merging of the outside space into the inside space.
“We also had a challenge in that there was a fire escape route going right through the front bar, into the courtyard. That was quite unsightly so we did our best to decorate that and treat it in such a way that it felt like it blended into both the courtyard and the front bar space. Both spaces were designed to feel light and sun kissed.”
“The layout of the site means you have to go through a very small bottleneck area before arriving into the main bar space. We decided to treat this bottleneck as a completely different space and make it warm, cosy and homely. Once you’re past the courtyard and front bar you find a fireplace, velvet couches and velvet armchairs. It immediately becomes more of a living room than the courtyard.”
It was key for the design team that the main bar be an island bar. While there is an amazing variety of delicious food, No. 1 Duke St. is primarily a place for people to have a drink. From a morning coffee to an evening nightcap, the drinks menu caters to a number of tastes. The cocktail menu has proved to be particularly popular, injecting classic refreshment with spirit infusions, house made syrups and sherbets. The first floor includes a more private dining area and a games room including a neon foosball table and deep couches.
Anyone entering the bar will be struck by the light and space of the venue but, as Lou explained, creating this was no easy task:
“The site itself was a very challenging because it was such a cavernous, dark space. It had a very difficult entrance space and a very big unlit backroom. We wanted to bring light all the way from the courtyard at the front, which always had the potential to be a charming space, through to the backspace. We used a lot of tricks of lights and mirrors to get people into the backspace.
Addressing the award win she added:
“It is fantastic to be recognised in the industry. I work very closely with my clients and for a small firm to win this award is great.”
BB Contracts – No. 1 Duke St
Established in 2010, BB Contracts specialise in interior refurbishment and fit-out in the hospitality, retail, hotel, commercial office and education sectors. An uncompromising approach to quality has helped the company establish a solid reputation with clients and suppliers alike.
Growing at an average rate in excess of 30% year on year, BB Contracts gains a large amount of business from repeat clients keen to maintain a strong working relationship. The firm invests heavily in staff for training and development and prides itself on its team’s ‘can-do’ approach. Director involvement at a project level helps provide an unrivalled personal approach that is uncomplicated and efficient. In addition to Darwin and Wallace, the company has worked with Savills, Maggie & Rose, Kew College and Realstar Living.
Lee Barnacle, from BB Contracts, commented:
“BB Contracts really enjoy working with Darwin and Wallace and their professional team. We have delivered three schemes for them and are currently looking at a fourth. No. 1 Duke Street was a challenging yet satisfying project and we were proud to have been involved in such an impressive scheme.”
“We aim to see the continued growth of our business, both in size and reputation, over a sustained period by working with the right clients and suppliers, and by delivering a consistently high quality service and product on all our projects.”