MyLahore – A journey of flavours
Imaginatively designed to reflect the colourful journey of South Asian immigrants into the UK is MyLahore – a new flagship British/Asian restaurant on Kirkstall Road, Leeds.
Originally an office which had been extended to accommodate a garage, the new venue has been totally transformed, with initial works comprising of a complete strip-out of the interior to create a blank canvas for the new design concept.
Interior design team were Fusion by Design, The Main contractors for the project were PEC.
Fusion By Design said: “The design brief was to create a flagship venue reflecting the journey of south Asian migrants to the UK, and with this in mind the interior takes you on a journey from the ‘colonial’ British rule to the cotton factories of Yorkshire but not forgetting the Lahore roots with the addition of colour and pattern. There are photographs by Photographer Tim Smith, reflecting different aspects of this journey throughout the interior.”
On the ground floor, a dark oak grand sweeping staircase at the entrance is reminiscent of the grandeur of colonial India era. The large hand-blown glass chandelier mimics the Atoms of the double Helix DNA which reinforces the ethos of the brand of an ‘intertwined community’. The ‘meet and greet area’ below the staircase features a collection of reclaimed suitcases, further reinforcing the concept of travel. Other key elements of the design in this area is a unique bus shelter structure incorporating reclaimed bus seats where customers are seated on arrival. The design of the ‘bus shelter’ is a combination of both British & Asian travel.
Flooring at the entrance is chequerboard black and white tiling, the walls are papered in monochrome bespoke digital wallpaper, The design is also featured on the counter of the new bar in tile format, all this is set off with yellow tiles as a backdrop.
Fusion by Design said: “The interior also features ‘Datsun Sunny’ booth seating with bucket style seats and headrests, inspired by the 1970’s car interior. Other design features are brass lighting and bobbin fixed seating, the bobbins used reflect the cotton reals used in the factories where many south Asian immigrants worked. Twisted flex run from these seats to up the light fittings, giving the impression of cotton winding out from the bobbins below.”
Another seating area includes two seater booths, featuring white tiling and an illuminated art wall incorporating shelving with themed artwork. The ceiling above the booths is painted in a dark colour with concealed halo lighting.
A central column is decorated with bespoke prints commissioned in colourful Pakistani ‘truck art’. Fabric and coloured lighting mimicking the look of bangles pierces the upper floor through a void. Within this area, the bespoke artwork features mini cars and rickshaws and the colour palette is in red, green, orange and pink. Flooring is in a mixture of Victorian style geometric patterned and slate grey, echoing a factory floor. Casual seating upholstered in colourful fabrics is arranged around the perimeter. The interior also features timber chevron flooring leading to the theatre kitchen.
The upper floor incorporates a private dining space and prayer rooms, with the decor featuring more bespoke murals themed on ‘truck art’ dark ceiling and exposed conduit lighting which enhances the space giving it a sense of city glamour.
Quotes reflecting the MyLahore brand are prominent on the walls all around the venue and include: “A very British Asian Story”; ”Home From Home”; “Savour The Moment”; and “Flavours from a Journey”.
The main challenges of the project were the need to install a new steel structure in the entrance area and breaking out the existing concrete flooring to install new drainage. It was also necessary to remove existing shutters in the entrance area and replace these with glazing.
Externally, a new projecting illuminated fretwork frame was installed at the entrance, creating an entrance portico further echoing the journey from start to finish.
Fusion by Design concluded: “The clients are very pleased with the project and have had excellent feedback from customers, business is growing week on week despite no advertising.
MyLahore started in 2002, with humble beginnings, huge hopes, and a lot of help from the founders’ family and friends.
The idea was simple enough. Growing up in an Asian family in Yorkshire, the founders enjoyed everything from karahis to chicken burgers, lassis to lasagne, and samosas to shepherd’s pie, not to mention the occasional jam roly poly or cornflake tart.
With dreams of bringing some fresh thinking to the restaurant world, they thought ‘why not just do what we know and try to do it really well?’
And this straightforward approach seems to have created quite a storm wherever they have opened.