Bar winners named in 2013 Northern Design Awards

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pleased to meet you 1Bar designer Simon McIlwraith of Collective Design has been named interior designer of the year in the Northern Design Awards.

Simon won the award after impressing the judges with his project Pleased To Meet You (pictured above), a bar specialising in gin, draught craft beer and food in Newcastle upon Tyne city centre.

Other awards included best bar/restaurant interior design for The Oyster Catcher restaurant and bar in Rhosneigr on Anglesey in north Wales, designed by Lister Carter.

Simon established Collective Design in Gateshead four years ago and now has offices in Newcastle. Past projects include Jalou, Lady Grey’s and The Redhouse in Newcastle, The Newsroom in Edinburgh, Popolo in Durham and the Steel House in Sheffield.

He has also developed Haus of Collective, an extensive range of bespoke furniture, lighting and wallpaper designs.

“A lot has happened in a few years since setting up Collective Design from a small bedroom in Gateshead,” he said. “It has been incredible journey and worth all the sleepless nights and hard work.”

For a full list of winners in the 2013 Northern Design Awards, click here.
Simon McIlwraith of Collective Design on Pleased To Meet You, Newcastle upon Tyne

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On High Bridge in Newcastle was a derelict pub which had been abandoned for a number of years and was in a state of decline along with the rest of the street. Plans were drawn up to create a new and exciting concept of bar and restaurant. This grade II-listed building was transformed into a contemporary gin, draught bar and eatery. The transformation has regenerated the area and created excitement around it. Pleased To Meet You has already become a favourite with the people of Newcastle with its unique style and timeless design.

The design brief was clear from the client: “Create an experience which people will not forget. It is important that people feel a connection with the building. Its history must also be exposed and celebrated. The design needs to inspire and be exciting. Ambience and style are key to this. The interior also needs to operate smoothly so that service is at the highest level at all times. Areas of interest and defined spaces are also required to provide intrigue. The customer must be left feeling that they have had a magical experience like no other.

The inspiration behind the interior stems from its function. The celebration of gin, food and draught craft beer became a focus. The interior design makes the function theatrical and exciting, complementing the offering on show. The interior strips back the history of the building and was the starting point for the concept. Every day on site as the building exposed its secrets inspired the development of the Interior. Strong branding and a defined design language became apparent early on. The character and industrial nature of the venue shines through and was controlled to create the overall final results.

The aim was to design a venue like no other. The street which Pleased To Meet You is situated on has had hard economic times and was looking derelict. The challenge was not only to design a bar but to reinvent the street and people’s perceptions of the area. The bar had social responsibilities to provide this. The commercial objectives were to create an interior which the public would feel a connection with. The design had to make a statement and create a deep impact on the city. We are creating a point of difference, it’s a new way of thinking, and this design has it all and then keeps giving morel.

The design is made up of a number of textures, tones, shadows and light. The contrasts between these make a theatrical ambience. It is these elements which are fused together to evoke an emotional reaction. As an interior designer it is this reaction I set out to achieve,” Simon says. “The result should make people feel a connection with the environment and physically relate to its personality through all uses of the human senses.

Rustic original brick, rivet steel and rich hard wood floors are the foundations of the design. This paves the way for soft leathers, warm polished copper tones, gleaming surfaces of marble and raw exposed timbers brimming with character and charisma. This tactile environment engrosses, mesmerises and overloads the senses.

Decadent touches add to the flavour and contrast alongside the industrial backdrop. Objects sourced from around the world were hand-picked to create a vision. Favourite features would be the engineered bespoke copper beer font. The rustic tin ceiling tiles sourced from a farm house in Normandy, the antique crystal chandeliers found in Paris, industrial pendants from Eastern Europe factories and the elaborate ceiling which is composed of exposed joists and steel.
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The greatest challenges were the structural issues with the building. It was in a state of decay and structurally unsound. The building is also grade II listed which created its own unique problems. The interior was fully bespoke and the challenge was to make the new elements look original. The exposed ceiling and steel work was all new as were most the exposed brick walls, a high level of detailing and time went in to making these features look truly original and interesting.

The overall result is a stylish interior full of intrigue and creativity. The level of detail creates a depth and originality. The layout of the scheme allows for a high level of service even at peak times. The design compliments the operation and enhances the experience. The reaction from the public has been astonishing as the interior evokes an emotional response which was a key objective. The industrial elements alongside the glamorous features and finishes were a massive success and create a timeless interior design which has been received as a great achievement. The economic success has regenerated the local area and created a vibrant street full of life. Pleased To Meet You has truly achieved its goals with an inspirational and original interior design which helped regenerate an area and create public appreciation through its design.

Case study: The Oyster Catcher in Anglesey

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The Timpson foundation engaged Huf Haus, a German company famous for glass-fronted, environmentally friendly properties to work in partnership with them to create a building fit for its stunning location. The glass structure has several energy-efficient features, including a series of bore holes with a ground source pump to provide hot water and heating and clever computers that keep energy use to a minimum.

One of the problems inside the Huf Haus structure was the height of the ceilings. This and the ‘openness’ of the open plan interior meant the internal acoustic properties were extremely reverberant and full of echoes. The restaurant sounded more like a “busy canteen” than a comfortable restaurant.

James Timpson approached Lister Carter with a view to creating and developing a new interior design for the Huf Haus, wanting to make the restaurant a more comfortable place to stay, enjoy the company of friends, eat excellent food and to enjoy the atmosphere and take in the stunning views surrounding the Oyster Catcher.

In order to break down the expansive and open feel, Lister Carter set about dividing the floor space, by introducing straight and curved fixed seating booths and in so doing, more intimate and private areas were created to enhance the dining experience.

By lowering the ceiling levels, the acoustic of the restaurant was totally transformed, leaving a quieter and more relaxing area to dine. Cage pendant lights and a variety of moon-like lampshades were suspended at differing levels from the ceiling panels. When you look toward the ceiling you can see the attractive artwork facings of the sky and clouds and automated mood controls ensure the balance of lights changes as the sun goes down.

Externally, totally new concepts were developed, with colourful beach huts that were positioned on the outside decking area. Designed to seat six to eight adults, the beach huts provide shelter from the sea breeze. The new large outdoor barbeque area was installed to enhance eating during summer evenings and to encourage diners to stay longer.
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