The Coco Retro bistro brings French flair to Royal Tunbridge Wells, a large affluent town in Kent, just outside London.
The brief for the design studio 32mq was to provide three different inspiring dining areas for three different dining experiences. The ground floor is an informal and relaxed brasserie; the first floor is an elegant intimate and stylish restaurant and the lower floor is a wine cellar (under development) dedicated to the wine collection of the owner.
Guests enter through a lobby-bar area with a unique circular shiny brass bar counter, which dominates the space and provides a perfect welcoming place for people watching on the street outside. Passing through a wooden and glass divider screen, a black and white bespoke checkerboard flooring, leads you to the brasserie. Here the existing brick walls have been left exposed with natural wooden shelves and dark wooden panels that line the walls and traverse up onto the ceiling from which hang beautiful globe lights with brass accents. The dark colour palette includes dark-brown seating and Bordeaux tinted tables.
A dark-black staircase leads to a bright, luxurious and modern restaurant space where the white and powder blue colour palette provide a stark contrast to the dark atmosphere of the ground floor.
The existing ceiling has been removed to expose the roof structure and to give a vertical orientation to the space. A light wooden columns screen frame divides the fireplace area from the rest of the restaurant and creates a space within the space gently lighted up by pendant lights providing an intimate area to the restaurant room. A bespoke triangular pattern flooring gives a touch of modernity to this space that faces the train station clock through a traditional leaded window.
Finally, the side walls have been decorated in collaboration with the local artist Chris Burke by illustrations resembling typical street scene adding a touch of playful intimacy to the tables area. On the background, an open plan kitchen reveals itself through a horizontal glass internally framed in brass.
Gross floor area: 150 m2
Client: Coco Retro Ltd
Architectural design: 32mq design studio
General Contractor: FF Services
Photography: Alan Williams