The Establishment – Heritage inspires imaginative design
Located in Wakefield’s historic Grade II listed Unity Hall, and incorporating a newly uncovered Victorian cobbled street, The Establishment is a stunning brand new bar and entertainment venue created through a combination of sympathetic restoration and inspired design.
Situated on the corner of Bank Street and Westgate, Unity Hall was built in 1904 as the headquarters of Wakefield Industrial Co-operative Society and for over 100 years moved through many phases, from music hall to the home of punk in the late 1970s.
Following an extensive refurbishment, the hall was transformed by a community co-operative into a multi-purpose arts and music venue, also housing the city’s growing creative digital industry.
Located in a space formerly occupied by Buzz Bar, The Establishment was designed in close consultation with the Heritage Council, with many original features having been revealed and restored during the works – including a Victorian cobbled street.
Designers for the scheme were Glyn Dyer Design.
The distinctive new venue, set over two floors, is geared to appeal to a more mature clientele, with the interior reflecting an industrial theme echoing the building’s previous use as the local Co-operative Society headquarters.
The venue is located on the ground and first floor, with the works on the ground floor including the conversion of a former fire exit with ornate stonework above into a new main entrance door into the centre of the interior space. The old entrance, situated on a corner was converted into a fire escape.
Inside, a bar is located to the right of the main entrance, with a further room known as The Music Hall Room to the left. This room gives access to an external bar, garden and smoking area to the rear of the building.
The bar area reflects the vintage style theme of the interior as a whole, and is inspired by the heritage of the building, as well as the current trend for raw industrial finishes.
Glyn Dyer of Glyn Dyer Design said: “The walls, and bar frontage feature retro style white crackle glazed tiles incorporating an duck egg blue shade, which is reflected in the colour of the ceiling and is combined with a palette of warm textures and peeling paint finishes, aged steel, copper lighting and silver and grey shades.
“Further enhancing the industrial look, the copper lights are fitted in cages and additional lighting has been designed along the lines of mechanical pulleys. The space is furnished with reclaimed and upgraded loose furniture.”
The Music Hall Room includes a stage and piano for live entertainment and features exposed brickwork, industrial themed wallpapers, moveable furniture and distressed copper finishes.
Glyn Dyer said: “11 m of load bearing wall was removed in this area to accommodate a new 11 m bar featuring brick timber, glass and copper finishes, enhanced by bronze overhead lighting. This was a massive undertaking in itself as there were a further three storeys above which needed to be supported – and the new supporting steelwork which was installed was left exposed in keeping with the raw industrial theme.
“The external bar and garden is accessed from The Music Hall room – via an internal corridor incorporating cobbled street which was uncovered during the course of the works. We left the original cobbles in situ, together with old doors and walls on either side as a feature.”
The external space includes two 5 m diameter ‘jumberellas’ with patio heaters beneath, a new bar to the rear and landscaping. The original ground level was uneven, so a new raised concrete floor with a cobbled stone concrete finish was installed in this area, which was a major undertaking.
Glyn Dyer said: “The upstairs area was not previously used and had been closed off, but we decided to open this up and make a feature from it and the space now accommodates the new male and female customer toilets.”
Further works include significant remodelling of floor levels within the building.
Externally the main frontage has been painted in grey and new signage in keeping with the building has been installed.
Glyn Dyer concluded: “The main challenges of the project were liaising with the planners to ensure that all the details were right and in keeping with the age of the building and its listed status. The structural works also required careful planning and consideration.
“The planners were pleased with the scheme, and the client has reported a very successful launch. This was an important project for me and was exciting to work on as I had free rein to come up with new materials and finishes.”