Created by Kai Design, the whimsical interior of The Lost & Found in Birmingham is inspired by the imagined world of a Victorian botanist. The character, Professor Hettie G Watson – envisioned by branding agency, Arm & Eye – is said to have lived in the 1869 Grade II Listed building on Bennetts Hill which now houses The Lost & Found.
Kai Design has created a fantasy interior for the pub, which is based on Hettie’s imagined life and work there. Canopies of plants, lit birdcages and captured butterflies decorate the pub, providing references to the imagined plants, flowers and creatures that Hettie had discovered and kept hidden in secret rooms in the building.
The space is divided into several distinctive areas – a botanical library, a boardroom, a dining room, a bar, an Institute of Botanics and a secret emporium. The floor-to-ceiling botanical library is dimly lit by library lamps strategically placed on long tables.
Adjoining the library is a boardroom, where Hettie would gather her fellow professors and guests to discuss her findings. Featuring a large world map to draw the eye, the boardroom is scattered with postcards of Hettie’s delights which reveal each plant’s point of origin. Some postcards are so small that it is necessary to use Hettie’s vintage magnifying glasses to read them.
The dining room consists of an apothecary-style wall of up-lit glass jars, each containing an individual flower. Cut-glass decanter lights complement the jars and create a warm glow in this space.
The main wall of Hettie’s Institute of Botanics is adorned with a large vertical wall garden, which is home to a projection of animated butterflies. The route to the bar passes the lavatories, where birds fly inside an overhead aviary.
“Throughout the interior you can find hints to the location of the secret room, and also imagery of Hettie herself through bespoke wallcoverings and fabrics,” says Kai Design’s Michaela Reysenn.
A secret doorway through a bookcase leads to Hettie’s secret emporium. Bespoke wallpaper flecked with gold leaf envelopes the room, and gives it a dark and cosy feeling. Bell jars of potions and botanical oils surround the bar where elixirs were served to all of Hettie’s guests.
The Lost & Found was the winner in the Standalone Bar category at this year’s Restaurant & Bar Design Awards.