London & South East


The exciting new CTZN bar is located at the site of the old Purple Lounge bar, next to the River Chelmer in the heart of Chelmsford, Essex.

Since opening only two weeks ago it has already attracted a celebrity clientele with Olly Murs and Marvin Humes from JLS having popped up on the guest list.  Early indications are that the venue is proving to be extremely popular.

The old bar was in desperate need for a revamp but rather than giving it a lick of paint, the owners of CTZN decided to start from scratch and bring something fresh and existing to Chelmsford. They turned to designers Sampson Associates with whom one of CTZN’s directors has previously worked with on a different project.

The brief Sampson Associates were given was to create an environment which was an update to the traditional dinner-dance.  The venue is designed to attract a discerning clientele that appreciate a great night out in one venue, where they can enjoy great food and drink and then stay on to enjoy the rest of the evening.  CTZN is designed to adapt to changing uses throughout the day.

The entire shop front was altered to move the entrance to the prominent corner position and so create a natural reception area. The original timber shop front was removed and replaced with a smart, modern glazing incorporating the CTZN logo. To emphasise the venue’s adaptability, large sections of the shop front can open up allowing daytime customers to spill out onto the street on sunny days, both providing external dining and enlivening the street scene. At night, curtains can be drawn across the windows to give the venue intimacy.

Adaptability is also built into the lighting scheme; so for example, the bar is lit predominantly by colour changing illuminated disks on the ceiling. These can be set to suit the daytime trade, the early evening dining trade and then form a vibrant backdrop to the bar to give a club atmosphere.

The focal point of the venue, visible upon entry is the brand new bar, which projects into the room to give the appearance of an island bar. To the right of the bar is the new open Turkish kitchen which adds theatre to the space and invites customers to enjoy the menu straight from the charcoal grill.

To the left side of the bar is the DJ unit with a commanding view of the dance area. In strict conformity to the adaptable nature of the venue, even the dance floor is utilised during the daytime as dining space.

Sections of raised floors with fixed seating booths towards the rear of the venue are used as VIP areas for small parties of 12-30 diners to enjoy the entertainment.

The interior design is crisp and modern with a hint of 60’s retro in the furniture aimed at an overall impression of lavish comfort. In designing the bar, Sampson Associates have drawn on their experience of creating stand-out venues in and around Essex. CTZN adds to the practice’s already extensive portfolio of pubs, bars, hotels and clubs for clients such as Greene King, Enterprise Inns, Geronimo Inns, Shea Properties and the Buckingham Group.

Every project which Sampson Associates undertakes is tailored to meet a client’s needs and has allowed them to be flexible in their design and style. Managing Director, Joe Sampson, said:

CTZN is a great example of the types of work that we like to do. We often complete large projects for leading pub companies, so to do something a little different like CTZN presents new challenges to us. We are finding that in today’s climate each project is becoming more and more interesting and varied and schemes like this present us with great opportunities to work with people who have fresh, new ideas.”

Sampson Associates are continuing the working relationship with CTZN with a new housing scheme project.  Joe said:

Our clients of CTZN were great to work with. They had a clear vision and made it easy for us to produce exactly what they wanted.”


ege specialises in the manufacture of broadloom carpets and carpet tiles; they also often undertake special design projects for clients. The company has been in operation for 75 years and so has had plenty of time to hone their craft.

The team have worked on an array of projects since their inception including Alton Towers, Chessington World of Adventure, Legoland Windsor, Accor, Holiday Inn & Express by Holiday Inn, as well as the Crowne Plaza.

The firm has most recently been involved in the creation of CTZN nightclub in Chelmsford, Essex. They supplied the carpet for the nightclub and worked alongside Sampson Architects to ensure they achieved their objectives during the project.

A spokesperson from Ege Carpets said they were thrilled to be involved with the CTZN project:

ege strive to make all projects whether they are big or small important thus providing our customers with their end goal.ege is one Europe’s leading companies when it comes to the design, development and production of unique, high -quality carpets; we have respect for the environment and this impacts on all of the products we design and manufacture.”

The team believes the environment is a serious matter and soworks hard to minimise the environmental impact caused by the production of our carpets. ege’s declared CSR objective is to contribute to a more sustainable world by continually striving to improve how we handle environmental, social and financial challenges, for the benefit of future generations.

About the author

Roma Publications

Leave a Comment