Annabel’s, UK

Images: James McDonald

Martin Brudnizki Design Studio looks to a flora and fauna narrative for the revamped private members’ club Annabel’s, making use of bespoke lighting pieces throughout.

This year, iconic members’ club Annabel’s opened the doors to its much anticipated new home – a Grade I listed Georgian mansion house at 46 Berkeley Square in London. With this move came a complete overhaul of the interiors and Annabel’s brand. Now covering four floors and 26,000sqft, Annabel’s offers an all-day and all-night experience and includes an outdoor terrace, nightclub, four restaurants, six bars and two private dining rooms.

Martin Brudnizki Design Studio (MBDS) was tasked with creating a club that would take members from breakfast through to the early hours, all while providing a place to work, dine, imbibe and relax. Having already worked with Annabel’s for a number of years, the interior design team fully understood what they wanted to create with the new space and how it would in turn benefit the business.

Annabel’s has a world famous reputation;  opened in 1963 the original space was designed by Nina Campbell. Its interiors became a fundamental aspect of the club, which was loved by all. When MBDS took on the project, the team was highly conscious of this and initially created a basement nightclub floor with interiors inspired by Campbell’s work. However, over time, while they designed the concept for the other floors, it soon became apparent that their narrative of flora and fauna had a stronger effect than what had initially been created in the basement. With guidance from the client, the team went back to the basement plans and redesigned the entire space so that it would communicate flawlessly with the rest of the club.

In terms of the lighting, for MBDS it always plays a pivotal role in any of its projects, but especially at Annabel’s. The majority of lighting was bespoke made – designed by And Objects and MBDS; with each floor having a different use, it was paramount that the interior design team created an appropriate atmosphere. As such, down in the basement where there is the nightclub and bar, they wanted to create soft, seductive ambience that would enhance the convivial mood.

The nightclub and adjoining Jungle Bar pay homage to the exotic. Wall coverings, fabrics and furnishings feature animal prints, vast jungle foliage, colourful rare birds and iridescent lizards that come to life within hand-painted mirrored glass walls. In terms of lighting, bespoke foliage lighting from Art et Floritude is used alongside Villaverde wall lights. Glass and brass sprung palm trees vibrate to the music and cluster around a hydraulic dance floor that can sink to a lower level or be raised to a stage for intimate performances. Everything comes together to create a decadent paradise in which to entertain and be entertained inside the club.

The Rose Room on the ground floor is the ultimate space in which to drink and dine, surrounded by hand-painted gold and silver leaf trompe l’oeil, bespoke handmade Murano glass tulip and iris chandeliers and a breathtaking pink onyx, backlit bar. Perfectly enhancing the English garden aesthetic, table lamps are accompanied by floor lamps and wall lights and the overall effect is a place that is perfectly lit, adapting to the mood of the day.

The beating heart of Annabel’s is a stunning, spectacular, secluded garden, covered by a masterpiece in engineering, a one-of-a-kind retractable glass roof by steel architects, Waagner Biro. Members can dine out under the sun and stars all year round, seven days a week, for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night drinks. For the garden terrace lighting, the Needles wall lights by And Objects for Urban Electric was used. Moving up the staircase, there are Durley wall lights by And Objects.

With a bar menu of Asian-inspired small plates and an Eastern-inspired drinks list, The Elephant Room is the ideal setting in which to while away the hours until the early morning. Whether it be mid-morning, early afternoon or late-night, Members and their guests can relax, surrounded by exotic fabrics, soft furnishings and hand-painted wall coverings featuring imagined classical landscapes, striking architecture, far-away forests, horsemen and of course, elephants.

The Mexican, situated on the club’s second floor, has been designed to give members an informal and relaxed environment in which to meet and work from during the day. In the evening, the room comes alive, the lights are dimmed, the music is turned up, the DJ arrives and the party starts.

Overall, Annabel’s is a wholly unique project and the MBDS team describe it as a “wonderful project to work on, having learnt a lot along the way.” While the design differs from what they originally had in mind, looking back they tell darc they could never have predicted it would turn out the way it has – a feast for the eyes!

The light perfectly sets the mood of each space within Annabel’s. From morning to night, the lighting levels can be adjusted from one central control board according to the time of day. Bright, natural light is utilised in the morning but come nightfall, a darker, more seductive and moody light is used.

“Annabel’s has been a once in a lifetime project,” the MBDS design team said. “It’s been incredibly complex, with thousands of materials and finishes used, hundreds of drawings and the introduction of world class artwork.

“The time frame of just eighteen months also made this a particularly demanding project; the amount of work completed in such a short time frame is a real achievement. There are so many stand out features it’s very hard to single any one out… However, the different crafts that have been implemented at Annabel’s is particularly interesting. From hand painted eglomise detailing and the restoration of various listed architectural elements, to the creation of a life-size Pegasus that is suspended from the ceiling of the stairwell and the exquisite hand-painted mural, which spans the entire length of the Rose Room.

“We wouldn’t change a thing about this project – if anything, we might have gone a bit bolder if we could do it all again!”

mbds.com