Awash with inky petrol blues and bright turquoise hues in a myriad of rich textures, finishes and patterns, Suvlaki has been transformed into a bold, yet homely venue.
“The brief was to redesign the interiors and brand identity of this existing Greek restaurant in Soho,” explains Afroditi. “The client opened the site originally without any design input, however the potential of the whole concept was clear, so they decided to invest into a full rebrand and redesign exercice in order to create a rollable, differentiated Greek restaurant concept that could expand in the UK market.
“Athens and its rich history and present provided the inspiration for the design. Greek culture is often confined to the classic era, however there is undiscovered beauty in the urbanness of the Athenian landscape, the architecture and street life.
“We wanted to mix this all up and come up with a defiantly greek design with personality and confidence.”
The restaurant’s dark, classic interior is echoed in its bright shop front, the feature grill made visible to showcase the provenance of ingredients and specialist cooking style.
This strong sense of identity is extended to even the smallest of details – “A lot of the furniture was sourced from Greece, made bespoke by local artisanal producers,” says Afroditi. “The feature tiling and lighting is part of our in-house, signature product collection – the AKollection.
“We also used Lavastone worktops, timber flooring from Jordan Andrews and reclaimed wall cladding by Retrouvius.”
Afroditi’s Pentagon pendant lamps create a warm and bold feature point, reflecting light along the ceiling, while an eye-catching Greek column cladded wall has been produced by a repetition of over 80 reclaimed, vintage Italian terrazzo fluted column sections.
The compact nature of the restaurant was a key challenge for Afroditi, and required a great deal of creative thinking. “We wanted to create a really punchy design that would fit into a shoebox Soho restaurant, but would still be relaxed, calming, and harmonious,” she says.
“We worked extremely closely with the client to make sure the ergonomics, flow and operations of the restaurant were spot on. Every inch counted, so we did not want to waste any potential space.
Afroditi has created an interior that hums with energy, and which clearly relays a sense of pride in Greek food and culture.
“I am absolutely delighted with the end result,” she says. “Being Greek, this has a special place in my heart. We set it up ready for opening on the day of the Greek referendum, when Greece could have exited the Eurozone. It made me feel proud that all news from Greece is not just bad news.”