Design: Fish Market & New St Grill
“Up-and-coming young artists are central to the design.”The Artful Diner
“Very different to what D&D has done before,” is the way Tina Norden, associate director at Conran & Partners, describes the restaurants, bar and wine shop at the Old Bengal Warehouse. This September, the ground floor of the old warehouse in New Street will be reincarnated as a British grill, a fish restaurant, cocktail bar and wine shop.
Working with the original building
Tina, who has overseen the design work for Conran & Partners, says they couldn’t help but take inspiration from the warehouse, which was built between 1768 and 1771 by the East India Company. The name Old Bengal comes from the wares it housed: silk, piece goods and textiles from Bengal. Exposed brickwork and pillars fashioned from ancient ships’ masts are just some of the original features that fed into the design.
“We’ve worked on listed buildings before for D&D, but normally their restaurants are finished differently to these, with plasterboard ceilings and all the finishing touches,” says Tina. “This was more about being inspired by the old building, leaving surfaces as they are and working with its character.”
So, as we walk around the unfinished rooms one day in midsummer, Tina explains that the white painted brickwork in Fish Market restaurant will be left as it is to preserve a whitewashed, seaside feel. One wall is to be clad in driftwood and the ceiling will be painted blue.
I can’t wait to see the wall taken over by the Hoxton Art Gallery, where copper sheets, corroded and bubbled blue with seawater by emerging young artist Tansy Brown-Hovelt will hang.
Photography and graffiti
Up-and-coming young artists are central to the design in both restaurants and in the Old Bengal Bar, where large oil paintings by Nadine Mahoney will hang. In the New St Grill there will be pencil drawings along nautical themes, with artist Jacob Dahlstrup Jensen using a needle to “tattoo” the paper. Meanwhile, photographer Natalija Gormalova is tapping into the building’s heritage with photographs of items like pearls, feathers and food. Both these artists’ work will be framed by vintage drawer frames, set into panelling made of old school desks, graffiti intact.
The Old Bengal Bar will take up a courtyard where you can also enjoy your steak, but the main part of New St Grill stretches further back, with two distinct sections – one lighter and the other more suited to whiling away the evening hours. In both, the existing timber flooring has been kept and re-laid, adding to a solid, rustic feel.
Finally, the wine shop is approached from New Street through the most massive arched door and straight up a flight of steps to see wine bottles framed against exposed brickwork. There is also a corner area with window seat where you sit and watch the world go by.
I’ll see you there…
Find out more about Fish Market, New Street Grill, the Wine Shop and Old Bengal Bar.
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