The outstanding interior of a new 220-seat family restaurant complete with its own cinema and delicatessen – ‘Wildwood Kitchen’ in Wantage – has earned the scheme’s designers a place on the 2015 Restaurant and Bar Design Awards shortlist.
Shortlisted in the Best Restaurant or Bar in Another Space category, the venue, owned by parent company Tasty plc, was designed by Design Command, with Gary Bluff Projects carrying out the fit out.
The new two storey restaurant is the latest offering from Wildwood Kitchen – a restaurant group with venues across the south and east, which aims to work with locals and the community.
Hailed as a boost for town business, the restaurant has been created within two adjoining former shop units – one of which was a Shoe Zone outlet, with the other being a Blockbuster video store, which closed in 2012.
The delicatessen, complete with feature curved servery bar, together with a 120 cover restaurant is located on the ground floor, with a further restaurant and a 40 seater cinema on the first floor.
The project involved the removal of the wall dividing the two units. The front section of the first floor was also removed and a new blackened steel staircase and balustrades were installed.
Other works comprised the stripping out of all the original fixtures and finishes, the installation of steelwork, the installation of new walls and ceilings, complete re-decoration including new wall and floor finishes and the installation of bespoke joinery and seating.
Clare McDonald, Director of Design Command said: “We knocked through the dividing wall, installed a new shopfront and created a double height space by removing the front part of the first floor slab, with the first floor being accessed by a new staircase.”
She added that a particularly distinctive design feature is the huge 4m diameter clockface installed on the wall downstairs by the staircase which was originally one side of clock tower in France.
Another design feature are the ceiling beams. Clare added: “We exposed the original red steel ceiling beams on one half of the interior and replicated the colour on the beams in the other half of unit to make it look as one. We covered the beam over the front void area in newspaper and then stripped it off and distressed it.
“The main feature colours of the downstairs restaurant area are grey and dark blue and we have added reclaimed windows with inset mirrors on one wall, with these windows being tilted and backlit. The walls opposite feature mirror tiling and rough render, with metal tiling being used on the back wall.”
A long banquette seat runs the length of the interior, dividing the space, which has additional banquette seating on one side and moveable seating on the other. Another striking design feature is the flooring in three colours of parquet laid in a checkerboard pattern.
The curved servery bar is cladded in a palette of five different types of metal, including blackened steel, stainless steel, mild steel, brass and copper.
In the upstairs restaurant, the same metal feature cladding has been used on one wall above banquette seating. To the rear of the restaurant a backlit cinema board displays the times of the films showing in the 40 seater cinema which is also located on this floor.
Wildwood’s aim is simple: to serve great food delivered by friendly staff in a relaxed, homely environment.
The new restaurant serves freshly prepared, ‘homemade’ Mediterranean cooking, with a selection of daily seasonal specials, pizzas, pastas, risottos, grills and seafood.
They also have a menu for children and run ‘make your own’ pizza mornings.
The project, which was completed in November 2014, is the largest scheme which Design Command have designed. The size of the unit gave the practice the opportunity to create several different seating areas and use lots of different textures and finishes.
“We were very happy to have been shortlisted in the Restaurant and Bar design Awards and are looking forward to seeing the outcome,” said Clare McDonald.
Design Command are Interior architects specialising in restaurant design, interior design and interior architecture.
The practice has carried out numerous designs for restaurants including Wildwood Restaurants, Wildwood Kitchen and Dim T.
Gary Bluff Projects Ltd
Gary Bluff Projects Ltd is a fit-out specialist, operating as principle contractor across a range of high profile projects. The company has been in operation since 2004 and has worked on many notable brands, including Prezzo, Frankie & Benny’s, Chiquito, ASK, Benito’s Hat, Pizza Express and Chimichanga, as well as with many small operators.
Recently, Gary Bluff Projects Ltd was appointed the principle contractor on the Wildwood project, which involved the programming and management of all trade services on the project. Utilising a clear line of communication, Gary Bluff Projects Ltd liaised with their client to achieve handover; ensuring deadlines were met so that the site could open on time.
Gary Bluff, Managing Director for Gary Bluff Projects Ltd, said:
“Wildwood is a valuable client to us and one we are very proud to be associated with.”
“We are proud that we have built up a successful company working with some of the major restaurant brands. We achieve the desired look and feel that clients are looking for in their brands and we always complete works on time and within the budgets set out by the clients.”