Award-winning hospitality designers, B3 Designers, has continued its collaboration with the Tamarind Group (owner of Tamarind Mayfair and Imli Street, Soho) to create One Kensington, a newly-opened bar and dining venue on Kensington High Street, London.
B3 Designers’ brief was to create both the brand identity and the interior look and feel for One Kensington. The 300m2, 120-cover dining space is set in a striking Grade II Listed, late Gothic revival Victorian building and boasts a dining area, counter bar and a raised champagne table.
The restaurant was, in fact, originally home to The London & County Bank in 1885, designed by architect Alfred Williams. Indeed, the champagne table is named ‘the John Tann table’ after the famous 19th century safe maker, one of whose creations is embedded in the front wall of the building and was uncovered during the refurbishment.
B3 Designers’ inspiration for the brand identity is partially drawn from the intricacy and irreplaceable nature of bank notes, by incorporating watermark detailing to the One K emblem as background to the pages within the menus. The history of the building as a bank gives a sophisticated, industrial approach to the interiors, evoking the era of Gustav Eiffel and Jules Verne. The menu features global cuisine, inspired by the travels of Jules Verne, as is the branding used on the main menu cover, which features a medallion surrounding the logo.
In order to channel the building’s story and identity, the aesthetic for One Kensington is drawn from the industrial engineering era of the mid-19th century.
B3 Designers’ brief for the interiors of One Kensington was to combine two offers – Counter Bar and Dining Room in an historical building with inspiration from the era of 1880s, creating a premium, elegant yet functional and accessible dining experience.
The overall style of the interiors showcases a contemporary interpretation of the era, highlighting the timeless quality of elegant but hardwearing materials and skilfully engineered fixtures. B3 Designers has referenced this in the refined industrial metal frames, which are balanced with large feature light elements made from delicate smoked glass with accents of antique brass fittings.
The use of light duck egg blue with an ocean turquoise on the leather upholstery of the feature banquettes and bespoke loose seating is paired with intricate metal leg frames to recreate the Victorian industrial feel.
Other key features include a polished white marble terrazzo floor to the bar side of the restaurant which is laid akin to the original finish of the building; the aged metal bar top with a gunmetal-clad facing and, in the main dining area, the dark stained oak floor in a herringbone pattern.
As a listed building, B3 Designers was limited to what it could do with the restaurant’s walls. “We wanted to retain the character of the building so we liked the idea of bringing a contemporary, global spirit through colourful, luxurious upholstery and branding materials such as the menus,” says Mark Bithrey, founder and design director at B3 Designers.
The intact Gothic architectural details – from the ornate stonework to the wood panelling – are echoed in the design, and are contrasted with the sophisticated industrial details of the furniture, fixtures and lighting, as well as the overall approach to the branding design.
The menu, meanwhile, is designed to suit an international palate and dishes have been created by executive chef Massimiliano Blasone, previously of Nikita Malibu and Apsleys at The Lanesborough, where he was awarded a Michelin star after just four months.
The restaurant’s name, One Kensington, is directly related to the venue address: 1 Kensington High Street. This premium location reflects the restaurant’s service quality and by using a well known London address anchors the refined international approach to cuisine to the heart of London; a fittingly diverse and cosmopolitan city.