The London Restaurant Design Scene
2011 has seen the continued expansion of the London restaurant scene making it the most vibrant and fiercely competitive city for restaurateurs in the world. The rise of the casual dining sector continues despite the woes of the financial markets. The availability of funding to expand and create new London restaurants has partly affected the design cycle we are currently in.
The use of vintage industrial look restaurant furniture along with the cheap reworking of old classic styles with a vibrant painted finish can be found everywhere. The designers are working with such tight budgets that every single fit out and restaurant furniture cost is scrutinised.
Basic / industrial lighting, bare brick walls, concrete floors can be found virtually on every London street, admittedly mainly in the casual dining slice of the market. The fine dining sector is as complex as ever, and although some openings have enjoyed jaw dropping budgets others have certainly not.
To convey a trend in this sector would be unwise, except to say that quality but simple raw materials in the fit outs mirror the simple raw ingredients in the food offering. For example, the continued popularity of the new quality steakhouses and the upgrade of some famous old steakhouse brands, all echo the slightly retro look with quality solid furniture, often oak, with quality leather used on the chairs and sumptuous banquettes.
2012 will of course bring the Olympics to London, and although all restaurants in the capital will benefit it will be of interest to see how the much anticipated bumper profits will affect the London dining scene. I am sure it will make for even more competition and some unexpected outcomes for those concepts not entirely focused and managed by world class operators.