Mayfair’s new Mediterranean icon – Onima
A magnificent new five storey restaurant and bar with each level having its own character, Onima, set within an iconic building in the heart of Mayfair, brings a whole new dimension to dining and drinking in true Mediterranean style.
Because Onima is based in such an important building with a long history, both the building and its position in the urban landscape, as well as the overall cosmopolitan atmosphere of London and its modern lifestyle, have greatly inspired the interior design approach.
The particular morphology of the building with its characteristic large windows is a dominant element of the design influence.
George Gavalas and John Mourikis of Athens-based Archset were interior designers for the scheme. Key players in the contract team included Meridian, ZSS and Europsiktiki.
John Mourikis, co-founder of Archset said: “Creating a Mediterranean style restaurant whilst also reflecting the cosmopolitan character of in London was a big challenge, and the visual dialogue between these elements creates a very special venue.
“The basic aim of the design was to create a modern space with identity and key style elements, which is also welcoming, relaxing, upscaled and luxurious.
“Each floor had to be slightly different whilst consistent with the overall design concept – avoiding the look of different restaurants within the same building. It was also important that each floor had an element of surprise to add to the design impact.
“The illumination of the space combining natural and indirect light sources in several colours and levels contributes to the ultimate effect, highlighting different details and elements at different times of the day and evening.”
As the building was not originally a restaurant, significant changes had to be made. The staircase was completely renewed and new mechanical and electrical installation was needed to serve the new kitchen. Three new service lifts were also installed to connect the kitchen with the first and second floors.
The first three floors have been completed, with the remaining fourth and fifth floors soon to follow.
The kitchen and guest toilets are located in the basement, with the entrance lobby, reception and the main restaurant and cocktail bar on the floor above.
A further restaurant and bar designed in a more quirky style is situated on the first floor, together with an outdoor terrace.
The second floor will be a member’s club lounge, whilst the third floor will host offices.
Finally there will be a magnificent terrace with a garden and conservatory, for guests to enjoy.
Each floor exhibits a slightly different design concept, materials and colour palette.
John Mourikis said: “The ground floor main lobby follows the style of the building façade. The classic wooden cloakroom with American walnut and the Victorian fireplace, in combination with the mirrors that multiply the space, are in dialogue with the curved relief partition that separates the lobby from the main restaurant area.
“The ground floor is a bright space with lighter colours, creating a welcoming all day area that feels comfortable from morning to late at night. Design highlights include marble flooring, warm grey lilac walls, bronze mirrors and American walnut details in the bar area, which also features bronze glass holders.”
Furnishings include sofas and armchairs upholstered in velvet and ranging from purple to dark blue.
Tables have bronze bases and either American walnut or black shiny marble tops.
Lighting includes recessed spotlights in the ceiling, combined with randomly hung decorative bronze pendants, creating a striking synthesis.
Artworks that are changed from time to time are also a very important element of the ground floor design, adding a further touch of colour, high quality and luxury within the space.
The first floor showcases a different design concept with the bar as a focal point, as well as a DJ booth.
Here the materials are warmer and the colours are more intense, with a wooden ceiling as a key design element, featuring wooden blades ranged around a central shield, and visually connecting the bar with the sofas on the opposite side.
The ceiling design is reminiscent of the ripples created when a pebble is thrown into water and also represents sound waves that start from a central point then fade.
Other design highlights include fishbone style wooden flooring, walls in warm grey, complimenting fabrics in shades of blue and American walnut detailing, combined with bronze-clad columns and beams.
The bar features a leather-look marble top, with suspended bronze circular shelves for bottle displays and blue mirrors.
The building itself has many large windows so there is plenty of daylight in the restaurant, which is rare in an old building in central London.
External works included the creation of a new entrance and new plants placed outside the ground floor windows give the feeling of a Mediterranean garden, ensuring privacy within the interior, while at the same time giving a welcoming impression to visitors.
John Mourikis concluded: “Working on such an important project in the heart of Mayfair has been a real challenge. Although it has been an exacting scheme, the final result is of really high quality.
“The client says that he is really happy with the restaurant which meets all of his expectations and is even better than he anticipated.”
Archset is a creative architectural and interior design studio, based in Athens, Greece and is headed by founders John Mourikis and George Gavalas, who formed the company 23 years ago.
The main aim of Archset’s design philosophy is to create modern, comfortable and atmospheric spaces, whether for residential buildings or other venues including hotels, restaurants, and bars.
The company is also active in scenography field and have designed many sets of scenery for theatre performances, musicals, music shows and television productions.
Founded in Athens, AKPA Design specialise in the design and manufacture of custom furniture for projects within the hospitality, leisure and retail sectors. The company has been in operation for 35 years and has the capabilities to create a range of furniture, from sofas and upholstered furniture to standout pieces for hotels, restaurants, retail units and professional spaces.
Dimitrios Vasilantonakis, AKPA Design, said:
“We can construct custom pieces to fit any space or need our clients might have, without increasing construction costs while doing so. That has been the goal since the beginning of our company, so it feels natural when professional designers come to us with a sketch and together we turn it into a new piece of furniture. We consider ourselves the best at achieving this kind of work at a large scale.”
Past projects for AKPA Design include The Grand Resort Lagonissi, The Athens Hilton, Sonesta Ocean Point Resort in Sint Maarten, Elounda Beach, Elounda Bay, Creta Maris and Arina Beach in Crete, Porto Delfino in Cythera, Atlantis Hotels and Cosmopolitan Suites in Santorini and the Miramare Wonderland in Rhodes, amongst others. More recently, AKPA Design has been involved with Onima, manufacturing a number of large metal feature pieces, along with tables and stools.
Commenting on AKPA Design’s involvement with Onima, Dimitrios said:
“We are truly proud to have been involved in the creation of this unique restaurant. We accepted the challenge gladly, making gorgeous, high-calibre furniture that combined multiple materials. We think the results speak for themselves and we are certain that their use and functionality will prove to be perennial.”
“At AKPA Design we proudly stand with our clients and support them through the years. Their successes and frustrations are ours and the enduring relationships we have with them, some decades-long, is a testament to our commitment and is a source of joy for us.”
Being in the Greek market more than 20 years, Europsiktiki Design are highly specialised in designing and constructing high-end professional equipment, as well as in various styles of shop fitting. Among the company’s clients one can find several important bakery and pastry chains, restaurants, bars, hotels and food markets.
Violetta Koulogianni, Europsiktiki Design, said:
“We are always thrilled to work in new projects, whether it is a small boutique bakery shop, or a ‘larger than life’ restaurant like Onima in London. It was a great and most-welcomed challenge for our team to work with genius architects in order to create a classic yet extremely modern environment.
“The restaurant extends in three floors and it was quite fascinating to achieve a common visual “rhythm” in the whole building. This project gave us the chance to expand even more the effectivity of our partners in designing and our construction team.”
“As a company we are extremely proud of all the projects we have handled over the years and I must say that we are getting more mature and creative day by day. One of our major goals is to be able to work on new projects around the globe and keep our clients, old and new, always satisfied. We see our clients as dear friends and that fact will never change!”