02 Sep Krassa Blumenthal Venture. A Retro Nod to the Golden Age of Aviation
For his latest Heathrow based venture, experimental celebrity ‘Food Scientist’ Heston Blumenthal enlisted renowned hospitality designer Afroditi Krassa to create an interior that would create a destination restaurant in surroundings ordinarily focused upon fast, easy food outlets to cater to the demands of it’s fast paced environment.
The Perfectionist Café has been designed with the idea of 1960’s travel in mind and as such it’s décor is the perfect nod to what is still regarded as the Golden Age of air travel. Krassa’s aim was to mimic some of the glamour of travel during this period. The designer has utilised materials that are evocative of the time, with dark woods, leathers and brass detailing that hark back to traditional suitcases and vintage airliners. 1960’s favourite material Formica has also been widely used throughout. The restaurant is packed with subtle allusions to aviation with a large communal table placed just inside the entrance, which is shaped like a propeller.
Other design features include the typically 60’s colour palette. From the graphic monochrome floor tiles to other key colours such as blue, orange and mustard yellow tones, the colour scheme screams the Swinging Sixties. The centrepiece of the space is a vibrant and imposing bar area and in typical Blumenthal fashion, the kitchen has been treated in a very theatrical fashion, left open allowing customers to experience the hustle and bustle a Heston kitchen. There is even a liquid nitrogen ice cream bar, a brand new concept for a space such as this. There is also a bakery area, and an exposed wood-fired oven for pizza preparation.
Lighting has played a large part in the spaces design with a range of lighting solutions being utlilsed. From spotlights that atmospherically light the bar from above, there are also lamps dotted along the bars surface. The lamps are an interesting combination of modern design and vintage sensibilities with their geometric shape. These lamps also act to pick out and emphasise the beautiful patterns of the marble bar. Cocktail glasses are housed in lit box shelving and there are even interesting art pieces adorning the walls, lit from behind creating an almost stained glass effect.
The restaurant has been very cleverly designed and distinct zones have ben created, with an area optimised for quick, on the go dining, with stool seating and flexible table spaces. Further into the space is a more relaxed atmosphere, away from the busy terminal where diners can enjoy booth seating next to the terminals existing windows, allowing customers to view the airports runways and watch planes taking off and landing.
Afroditi has succeeded in bringing a restaurant the likes of which has never been seen within an airport and has created a space that provides an experience, something that Heston Blumenthal is known for, instead of providing a purely functional space. While the café does still cater to the busy, time pressed travellers of Heathrow, the space also provides the perfect place to relax before a flight, taking in all of the glamour of the Golden Age of flying with all of the foodie experience that we have come to expect of the Wizard of Gastronomy.
Images – Simone Canetty-Clarke – www.simphotography.com