Currently in its fifth year, the 2013 Restaurant & Bar Design Awards will take place on 12th September at London’s Farmiloe Building. With a plethora of innovative projects named on the shortlist, anticipation among industry insiders has been rapidly growing in the run-up to the event. Here, Hospitality Interiors lists some project highlights.

Bill’s, Australia
With references to secret card games and the American Prohibition, Bill’s is the dark, hidden bar at the back of a burger joint. Huxtaburger is at the front, dominated by quilted stainless steel and a large monochromatic diamond motif.

Behind a concealed door and carpeted tube is the bar designed by Russell & George. In contrast to the burger joint, it’s tonal and subtle. Referencing the diamond wall motif, the wine rack in plywood is designed to shift and change depending on which direction it’s viewed from.

This gives the room a sense of dynamism and intimacy. Retro furniture and locally-designed and made lighting elements finish off a bar that has become part of a tradition of small hidden venues in Melbourne.

Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Bath
Fusion Design and Architecture: “Our brief was to design a scheme incorporating the essence of Gourmet Burger Kitchen into a very tight, but stunning Bath stone, listed railway arch. To use quality materials and meticulous detailing to create a casual neighbourhood burger restaurant.

“The size of the shell was a challenge. A mezzanine level was installed for the operational elements which, because the entirety of the arch is visible from outside, could not visually compromise the space. A huge bespoke copper light feature emphasises the height of the arch, and the mezzanine is clad with hardwood to create the impression of boxes that appear to float within the space.”

Graze Bar, Bath
Simple Simon Design: “The venue was inspired by the great steak houses of London and New York, with the addition of a microbrewery that delivers beer to a central island bar.

“All elements have been kept low level to maximise the views of the industrial trackside terrace on one side and central Bath on the other. There is an abundance of wood – a reclaimed warehouse timber floor, stained ash for the bar fronts, oak plank wall panelling and the whole space lies under a sculpted raft of timber fins.

“The dining counter is finished in Graze’s signature blue brick tiles, set off by a flash of polished copper, which is echoed in the pendant lights above.”

Ippudo, Australia
Ippudo is designed to introduce the Japanese noodle culture into Australian dining. More than just a restaurant, Ippudo is a gallery of the noodle culture, displaying traditional noodle bowls and spoons, and a traditional clay feature wall from Hakata, the birthplace of Ippudo.

For Koichi Takada Architects, the challenge of the restaurant was the undulating timber ceiling. It represents the ‘gust of wind’, the literal Japanese meaning of Ippudo. It tells the story; a narrative of Ippudo’s history, and allows an insight into the traditions of Japanese dining.

Ippudo is known for its ‘crafted’ dishes. This meticulous attention to detail carries from the food to the interior, where great detail is seen in the application of natural finishes. The interior is exciting and natural – the gentle timber curves are welcoming, the overall experience is a unique and modern interpretation of dining in Japan.

Kook, Italy
Noses Architects: “We completed our ‘mission architecture’ for the Kook eating house project in Rome: it meant creating a place that enhanced the perception of the senses without going overboard.

“The project trusted in cold concrete, heated by the warm wood and custom furnishing full of memories and, perhaps, until recently, bearing witness to intimate family scenes. Today’s and yesterday’s threads meet in the architecture and in the cuisine.

“To strengthen the relationship between innovation and tradition, between granny’s recipes and the chef’s specialities, an olive tree, the symbol of wisdom, longevity and Mediterranean essence, is embedded in the glass. A ‘green aquarium’ that holds one of the true symbols of the local culture and cuisine, but making it a free catalyst of light that spreads throughout the premises.

“The key word is harmony. Walking around the room, you can find an endless array of details, obvious ones (like the Bianchi bicycle) or hidden ones (like the exposed pipes of the sinks, just they used to be), huge or tiny, communicating with each other in a perfect industrial style, vintage, yet still faithful to the Mediterranean identity.

“Knowing how to dose planning aside can also be seen in the refined combination of different types of flooring materials: from the honey-coloured parquet floor, to the industrial resin, the classic Mediterranean colours of the concrete tiles.

“To encourage multi-sensory perception and to help grasp the many stimuli provided by this restaurant and by its content, we also inscribed some words or phrases in the wood and in the concrete, like the popular saying that goes something like ‘Whoever doesn’t enjoy the meal is crazy, furious and devoid of common sense’.”

La Cantine, Singapore
The Stripe Collective: “Our latest venture with three-star Michelin chef, Bruno Menard. Playfully re-invented following the lead of a man who mastered the rules and isn’t afraid to break them…

“We borrowed brasserie elements and turned them on their head. From the upside-down logo featuring the French rooster icon, to a Parisian cityscape of hand-carved inverted chandeliers, watched over by topsy-turvy red weathervane lights on a tin-panelled ceiling, overflowing elegantly onto its less familiar home, the wall.

“Every delightful detail of a traditional brasserie has been playfully altered, heightened by floor-to-ceiling folding doors featuring miniature hand-carved French architectural facades or oversized balustrade bar detail that challenges your sense of scale again.

“Mysterious herb and spice drawers climb endlessly above the exaggerated carved table-bases, with inlay brass Napoleonic bees and honeycomb detail on top (Napoleon being the ultimate rebel of course!)”

Shumis, Israel
OPA Studio: “As in all our projects, we first try to think as the potential client. We try to think like him, act like him, and especially understand what he wants, what he aspires, what he most enjoys receiving.

“We approach each of our projects with the intention of having fun, but this project we especially enjoyed, since we had to walk into the shoes of potential pizza consumers.

“So it turns out that the basic psychology of contemporary pizza consumers is simple. People who come in for pizza are usually families or groups of friends which come to eat and spend time together.

“On the one hand, they know that pizza isn’t the healthiest food in the world. On the other hand, if they are eating something that doesn’t provide them with all the nutritional values, they at least want to enjoy it, big time!

“That was the basic concept we approached this project with. We also based our design on the fact that in association and intuition, pizza is related to the ultimate homeland – America. We let influences from American pop culture take over us, and went with them.

“The fact that the pizzeria was to be located in an industrial area, contributed to the design’s identity. If the DNA of the design was American pop culture, then the flesh and skin were cheap, simple, available materials, which are close, and bring us closer to the nature of the location.

“The emphasis in tones and style was of course bright strong colours, and on creating a dramatic space, which enhances the client’s experience. From there, all we had to do was to let the muses talk, the ovens burn, the mouths chew and the faces smile.”

The Potting Shed at Dorset Square Hotel, London
Designed by Kit Kemp, The Potting Shed restaurant and bar at the Dorset Square Hotel is light and airy with sage green walls, crisp white details and grey oak floors.

Along one entire wall is an art installation by Martha Freud, which features 198 small lights sat in ceramic cups that fade on and off, spelling out famous cricket sayings. The bar is dominated by two Peter Rocklin paintings that draw inspiration from the hotel’s cricket history. Upholstered banquette seating creates a warm and comfortable feeling, and the long pewter bar is ideal for cocktails.