Interior designer Robert Angell is the man responsible for some of London’s most beautifully designed restaurants and hotels. His latest project Marcus Wareing’s restaurant Tredwell’s has received rave reviews from food critics and interiors experts alike. Here he tells The Resident where his inspiration comes from and what it was like working with the Michelin-starred chef Marcus Wareing
Everyone is talking about Tredwell’s at the moment. That must have been an exciting thing to work on, how did it come about?
I started working with Marcus Wareing on MARCUS – his stunning restaurant in the Berkeley Hotel. It was ten years old and looking well worn. We wanted to redesign the restaurant to give it a new and cool identity. We got along brilliantly and the relationship grew from there. I understand what he wants from his interiors in his restaurants and he gives me the freedom to go and create it for him – he is a fantastic man to work with.
When designing Tredwell’s we wanted the interiors to reflect the history of the site as an old ground for horse trading and later motorcars. Being a very British establishment the main colour is British racing green with brick wall interiors to give the feel that one has peeled back the layers of the building and revealed a beautiful patina of time. We used crackle glaze tiles and cracked leather to give an instant worn in patina which achieve an established and familiar look.
I was also inspired by the area that Tredwell’s is located in and I wanted to translate the buzz and vibrancy of the area directly into the restaurant, which we did by creating a cool industrial vibe with contrasting light and dark textures and tones and we used large antiqued mirrors to reflect space and light around the dining rooms.
Where have your sourced the fixtures, fittings and furniture from?
A lot of the furniture was custom made, such as banquettes and the lighting. The dining chairs were an iconic British Design from 1945 made using new aluminium casting technology that is taken from creating spitfire fuselages. We consciously made a decision to keep the furniture and its craftsmanship as British-made as possible and I think the design of the chairs is very elegant and also relevant to what people want today. Our whole approach to the furniture was that we wanted to create a point of difference – something truly unique for Tredwell’s.
What sort of response have you had on the design of Tredwell’s?
We have had a really positive reaction from customers and press alike. People have commented that the interiors capture the dynamism of the area really well and that we have created a very warm, well-loved, worn and lived-in feel to the place, with a bit of a New York vibe thrown in there too, which is great to hear and exactly what we wanted to achieve.
Our custom-made large clock hanging above the bar (that you see as soon as you walk into Tredwell’s) has also attracted a lot of attention and admiration. When designing it we wanted to reference the Seven Dials mystery murder so the face of the clock is a collection of English table knives and was made entirely bespoke to Tredwell’s.
Have you eaten there yet?
Yes I have been quite a few times now, the menu is really exciting, and I love the idea of sharing plates as I think the dining experience is and should be a very social thing. My favourites on the menu include Beef Hanger Steak with Mushroom Ketchup and Lamb Chops with Minted Bean Chutney. They do a delicious New Fashion cocktail too – a must!
You’ve worked on some pretty big projects in London, which has been your favourite?
That is a difficult question as I have been lucky enough to be involved with so many amazing projects with so many amazing people. They were, and are all still, fantastic to be part of. If I had to choose a favourite today, I think it would always tend to be the last one I have completed as I believe that with every new project the studio and I grow to the next level with our designs so I think at the moment I would have to say Tredwell’s!
Where do you get most of your inspiration from?
I get my inspiration from our incredibly enthusiastic clients who are so passionate about what they are doing and what they aspire and envisage their interiors to look like. I also get a lot of my inspiration from my travels – I am always going to galleries, markets, antique shops, old furniture shops where there is always so much visual inspiration and interesting things to see and experience. I also get inspiration from generally wandering around any of the cities I am in at the time and soaking up their unique atmosphere and way of living – I find it fascinating to watch the locals, the way they dress and interact and live their lives.
How do you develop your ideas?
This is a very creative process – the ideas can come from anything, such as a beautiful piece of jewellery – and the concept develops around that. The one thing for each project however, is to have the ‘Big Idea’ and story behind the design. Otherwise there is no provenance and this will definitely be apparent in the end product.
How does designing a commercial property differ from residential?
The main point of difference with commercial property is that it needs to be fit for purpose and be a lot more hard-wearing and enduring and therefore the materials we use have to be more resilient and durable to wear well against everyday use.
What do you think are the latest interior trends?
I tend to steer away from any trends in interior design. My design aesthetic is very much founded upon creating something that is timeless and iconic in years to come and I want to create and enhance brands for the long term.
In the last couple of years, the ‘industrial chic’ look has become very popular, an almost anti-design aesthetic that looks like it has been put together in an effortless less way. I think now people want something that is easily accessible, and that feels comfortable and at the same time personal, almost like going to a bar but one that feels like you are sitting in someone’s living room.
What design features do you think we are going to start seeing more of ?
I think going forward there will be a lot more emphasis on creating designs that are classic and enduring and I also think there will be a huge resurgence in highly skilled, bespoke craftsmanship and beautiful detailing.
What’s the quirkiest residential project you’ve worked on?
Many of our clients are high profile in the worlds of fashion, music, art, design and sport and we don’t disclose who they are or the details of the designs we have created for their private homes. However, I can tell you that I recently visited the most beautiful Italianate Villa on the shores of Lake Geneva where one of our clients wanted to renovate every detail, practically starting again from scratch. This is the polar opposite end of the spectrum from what some of our clients want in respect of fully modern interiors. So all in all it is hugely exciting and interesting to get to work with such an incredible range of clients and projects.
What would your dream home look like?
I believe that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication – I think there is technology overload in some aspects of interior design and my dream home would go right back to simple and elegant design, with clean lines and a fresh aesthetic and the interiors would reflect timeless, calm beauty.
And lastly, what’s next for you?
At the moment I am working on a number of hugely exciting new projects, one of them being a new landmark hotel in Baku which we are designing over 800 bedrooms for. We are also designing more hotels in London and Hampshire, and have other incredible opportunities lined up, which I am afraid I cannot talk about just yet. But it is a very exciting time for Robert Angell Design International and we are so proud to be a part of these all these incredible projects and there will be many more to come.