Bondi Green, UK

Images: Katya De Grunwald

Bondi Green is the second hospitality venue designed by Run For The Hills for the Daisy Green Collection. With lighting design completed by Elektra Lighting, the modern Deco-beach inspired aesthetic is one of the newest dining and drinking spots in West London.

One of West London’s newest and most expansive al fresco drinks and dining spots, Bondi Green is an all-day bar, restaurant and café that immediately stands out from anything else in the area.

Set within a huge, light-filled space at the base of the landmark Brunel Building, directly beside the peaceful waters of the Grand Union canal in Paddington Basin, the client – the Daisy Green Collection – called on interior designers Run For The Hills to create a space that was “luxe mixed with a bit of industrial – pops of metallics, refined concrete and textured plaster, creating a luxurious palette with an urban edge”.

The interior designers were involved in the project from a very early stage, working with the clients during site negotiations to put together a vision for the space and discuss concepts with the Brunel Building landlords. 

Anna Burles, Founder of Run For The Hills, explains the initial brief for the space: “The venue has super high ceilings and a raw, refined concrete backdrop, dreamed up by Brunel Building architects Fletcher Priest – the perfect urban oasis blank canvas for us to build upon.

“Our operational brief was to segment the space into a bustling, casual dining, all-day venue incorporating a glamorous cocktail bar, casual dining restaurant, and a pizzeria with a semi-open theatre kitchen. We also needed to work in a specialty coffee café zone and a live, working bakery.

“In terms of a look and feel, our brief was to run riot with a Miami-inspired palette, to inject bold colour into the space, while still keeping things pared back, and with an industrial-luxe feel. So we designed a wonderful, colour pop space, playing with pattern clash and experimenting with wow factor specialist surface finishes – an unadulterated celebration of tone and texture.”

The many elements within the vast space, coupled with the floor-to-ceiling glazed windows that fill the venue with natural light during the day, meant that zoning was a particular challenge, as the interior designers sought to “create a special ‘nook’ for every kind of guest”. Meanwhile, the design of the venue’s huge “hero bar” was a challenge of scale for the interior design team, as it needed to incorporate two cocktail stations, a dedicated tank beer zone, wine testing section, a working bakery and dedicated pizza oven.

Burles continues: “Our solution was to create a huge, centralised bar to house all of these different zones, with a perfectly positioned ‘opening’ in the back bar that offers a direct view down the barrel of the pizza oven.

“We also used lighting to play a big part in helping zone the space, using tightly focused pools of light to create cozy nooks throughout what can only be described as a huge, airy space.”

To achieve this, Run For The Hills worked with lighting designers at Elektra Lighting, blending decorative and architectural elements to create a beautiful lit environment. The decision to work with Elektra Lighting was a natural one for Burles.

She explains: “Amazing lighting is a must have, not just a nice to have. It can make or break design and transform a gorgeous scheme into an utterly jaw-dropping design. Spaces are zoned as much by the shadows and darkness as they are by the lights picking beautiful design details out.

“We designed the look and feel of the decorative lighting within the space, but we encouraged the commissioning of an architectural lighting consultant, to calculate lux levels, quantity of ambient lights needed and specify all technical fittings, including ceiling tracks, LEDs to the back and front bar and around the banquettes, to create the lighting mood we wanted.

“We’re delighted with the results of the collaboration with Elektra Lighting. The arches behind the bar are beautifully picked out with soft lighting, highlighting the curves and casting a glow onto our antique mirrored shelves, glassware and bottles. The fluted bar front is also softly washed with warm light, which picks out the lovely raw concrete finish we specified, which we then contrasted with an ultra-glamorous, deep and swirling seaweed-toned marble counter top, with a luxurious double bullnose edge.”

Neil Knowles, Director at Elektra Lighting, explains how the architectural lighting sits in harmony with decorative elements specified by the interior designers: “We’ve worked with Run For The Hills before on a couple of projects, and they had worked with the client before on a couple of smaller kiosks and small coffee shops, but this was the first large-scale, full-service restaurant and everyone wanted to make sure the lighting was right.

“Decorative lighting has been used to define areas and spaces – the cluster of pendants over the central dining area for example, or the individual small pendants over the high seating booths. Each identifies and delineates these as a zone. However in some areas, it would be cluttered or intrusive to have decorative lighting, for example over the bar top. The back bar is a stunning decorative feature so the lighting here should be invisible, softly lighting the bar counter and leaving the back bar as a spectacle.

“In other areas, we have architectural and decorative lighting together. The large group of pendants in the main space look great but we wanted a dedicated spotlight to each table, which these don’t provide.”

Burles elaborates on the decisions behind the decorative lighting specified for Bondi Green: “We wanted to find textural, interesting fixtures that would be features in their own right, but that also cast a lovely glow onto tables and seating. The lights at the pink half-moon banquettes have a retro space-aged 70s feel, the lights at the single-man booths in the bakery are a little more School House electric to create a really eclectic feel. Lights above the high booths opposite the bar are more invisible and discreet, there to cast a really tight glow of light onto the tables. Extra large textured dome pendants above the main dining area are clustered for effect, to zone the dining space.

“Beautiful decorative lights are also stunning objects in their own right, quite aside from the lovely light and highlight they provide.”

Bondi Green’s huge space is also zoned through botanical-style planting, which has also been picked out with lighting. Here, specialist wall finishes were used to zone areas of the bar, so Elektra Lighting also paid special attention to make the metallic specialist wall finish in the Tank Beer zone sparkle day and night. In this space, lower light and visual interest is provided by bar-top decorative lamps, while architectural lighting draws the eye up to the high ceilings and wall feature designs.

Although Run For The Hills’ design approach is very varied from project to project, Burles believes that this particular location stands out as it puts “colourful glamour” centre stage.

“We went quite out there with furnishings for the Bondi Green client – they pop in extrovert shades and clashing botanical and animal print fabrics. We chose swivel seats for a golden age style, pared down with 70s style cantilever dining chairs in a mix of raw cane and upholstered in tactile fabrics,” she continues.

“For fabrics, we opted for a mix of boldly patterned and plain velvets, softly textured wools and leathers. Dining tables were sourced in a mix of rounds and squares, topped with a range of finishes for an eclectic feel – including cocktail-cool smoke-tinted glass, deep emerald green, Carrara white and dusky brown marble – edge-banded with antique brass for a touch of glamour.

“The semi-open kitchen is also a standout. It features a three-metre charcoal robata grill, creating flame-filled drama throughout the dining room.”

Looking back on the completed project, Burles is very pleased with the end result. She concludes: “We love how Bondi Green has turned out – it reflects the vision and personality of the clients and the Daisy Green Collection, but it also encapsulates our Run For The Hills design signatures – artfully juxtaposing eclectic, personality-driven furnishings, lighting and fabrics, creating the perfect backdrop for the client’s colourful, characterful art collection.

“Bondi is also a standout project for us because of its scale, at a huge 1200sqm of double height space. Since the opening up this summer, the venue has been buzzing, with the kitchen, bakery and Tank beer teams working hard to keep up with demand. Extra covers are being added on the canal-side terrace to service customers still wanting an al fresco experience.

“We feel the design really has delivered on creating an F&B destination in its own right in West London – a new style of venue not seen anywhere else in the area.”

runforthehills.com

www.elektralighting.co.uk