All eyes on us

Posted: 12/10/16

We scooped three gongs at the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards for German Gymnasium restaurant in King’s Cross, including the biggest award of the night – Best Overall Restaurant (in the world!) We were also asked to design a pop-up bar for the evening’s celebratory party where we explored the theme of digital surveillance in the decade of Big Brother.

Attended by 800 leading designers and their clients, The Restaurant & Bar Design Awards is now in its eighth year and celebrates the world’s most innovative food and beverage spaces. The award ceremony took place in the hub of London’s urban culture at the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane.

The theme of the ceremony was ‘Street’ and four design studios (Conran and Partners, Simple Simon, STAC Architecture and Moreno Masey) were asked to create a temporary bar for the evening, encapsulating a particular decade of Street, from the 70s to the 00s.

Our designated decade was the 00s and our initial assumption was that, as the most recent era, interpreting the 00s without the benefit of much hindsight would present a difficult challenge. However, a Studio brainstorm quickly resulted in a deep and unexpected conversation about what the 00s really were:
Technology projected the human race so much faster culturally in the 00s than in any other decade. It is quite astonishing how much our lives have changed.

The 00s was the decade of the unknown, the unimaginable and the unlimited.

We took this technological revolution as the starting point for our design. Playing on tensions between privacy and visibility, with a nod to the growth of predatory surveillance in the decade of Big Brother, the installation with its strapline “All Eyes On Me”, invited people to see and be seen.

As many of the components of the bar as possible need to be made beforehand and assembled smoothly on site. We used white foamex and white painted mdf as the main materials, with a seaside style cut-out as a fun and tangible take on the virtual selfie.

A striking central CCTV installation used simple lighting in a dramatic way to pulse spot lights at random on guests in the bar, enhancing the feeling of being under scrutiny.
Winning three awards for German Gymnasium topped off the night and included Best Restaurant or Bar in a Heritage Building, Best UK Restaurant, as well as the Best Overall award, for the best restaurant design in the WORLD!
Project photography is a mixture by Richard Lewisohn, Emir Hasham and Marcus Peel.
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