Creative director of Blue Sky Hospitality, Henry Chebaane, has paid tribute to the scientific and artistic achievements of the Victorian era for the eclectic interior scheme of this cocktail bar and dining venue on Old Brompton Road.
Flora Indica has been designed as a tribute to Victorian artists and scientists, particularly the Scottish botanists who travelled deep through the Indian mountains and jungles, and authors of surrealist and fantastic literature, such as Lewis Carroll and H.G. Wells.
So in true British eccentric style, Henry Chebaane has created a unique blend of residential elegance, Victorian fantasy and postmodernist design, where the 19th century of forged steel, plaster moulding and pressed tin tiles is juxtaposed with 21st century resins, dramatic pop light fittings and luxury suiting fabrics.
Cool white marbled surfaces and silver metalwork are offset by warm English oak flooring and panelling. The seating has been elegantly upholstered in fashionista combinations of fine vegetal-dyed Scottish leathers and woollen fabrics from the isles of Bute, Lewis and Harris, contrasting dynamically with the raw metal bases and rivet detailing.
The chairs and tables are all custom-designed, evoking the metalworks used by Victorian engineers such as Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
Walls and shelves are filled with authentic 19th century artefacts evoking adventurous tropical explorations : pith helmets, walking sticks, microscopes, looking glass, apothecary bottles, jars of seeds, and original botanical prints.
The ground floor is a cocktail bar with 30 seats and high ceilings, while the lower ground floor dining room has 70 seats and a second bar suitable for a late night scene.
Connecting the two floors is an oak and iron staircase integrated within an immersive art installation, also from Henry Chebaane, that he calls (tongue in cheek) a Victorian G.H.O.S.T.
This is short for “Gintonicum Herbalizer Oscillator Super Transponder” – a fantastical retro-futuristic contraption spreading in all directions, designed in Steampunk style incorporating lighting, reclaimed distillery and industrial parts.