BLEECKER VICTORIA


Location: Victoria Street, London

Client: Bleecker

Mural: Artwork by Alison Sampson, painted by RobinSigns

Metalwork: Hopkins Editions

Bleecker started trading from a small truck run by founder Zan Kaufman who prepared and served with the same level of attention each one of her teams does at present.


After years trading from pop-ups and their base at Spitafield's, in 2016 Bleecker decided to open their first restaurant. Atelier EURA assisted them through feasibility studies and identifying constraints and opportunities in a range of units across town. 

Eventually, Bleecker chose a small unit in an old shops' parade by Victoria station in the corner of Buckingham Palace Road and Victoria Street.

Advised by a conceptual designer of retail and hospitality projects, Bleecker took upon themselves to develop a design, and shortly after a brand new restaurant opened in January.

However, after several months trading and having identified a range of issues which Bleecker was not satisfied with Atelier EURA were invited to redesign the restaurant for a relaunch on National Burger Day (24th of August 2017).


ORIGINAL DESIGN


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One of the strengths of Bleecker as a company is their focus on the burger and their relationship with their customers, many of which have become friends over the years. However, this was not reflected in the original design.


The limited availability of seats and the outward-looking aspect of those, difficult the serving and eating experience.  The high nature of the stools made them inaccessible to customers with limited mobility or small children and with this, the branch had limited its potential to a take out. 



A direct translation of the brand's identity, the colour scheme created an additional difficulty, it made the restaurant invisible to passers-by during the day as the shop front acted as a mirror reflecting its context rather than drawing people in.


Although Atelier EURA  were not part of the design, both this and the lack of story telling were concerns we felt compelled to voice when the client expressed her doubts.


In an attempt to help inject some of Bleecker's DNA, in the concept, we introduced Zan to the award-winning illustrator Alison Sampson who developed a bespoke piece narrating Bleecker's journey. Unfortunately, the scale of the work and the medium chosen by the concept designer had a limited impact in the breaking of the black.



WISH LIST

Due to the fact that the refurbishment of the premises was very recent, and that this is an operational branch, a clear definition of our priorities was key in order to develop an implementable design, over 3 weekends at a concise budget.


The management's key wishes were:

  • To redefine the space to reconnect with Bleecker and be closer to our design for the Bloomberg restaurant.

  • To improve visibility and customer engagement.

  • The operational team's wish list included:

  • An improvement on the layout

  • Removal of the black theme and Corian finishes.

OUR PROPOSAL


Following a thorough analysis of the operational needs of the branch, customer behaviour and crowd movement, we decided to focus our design strategy on the client's mantra "commitment to THE burger".


We did so by looking at two key areas: appearance and customer interaction.


CUSTOMER INTERACTION

Through the development of our design for Bloomberg, we had concluded that a key missing factor from Bleecker Victoria's interior was a link to its street food roots.


Furthermore, the design offered no opportunity to gather around as a group to enjoy a freshly prepared burger instantly, which is one of the biggest draws at Southbank. 


And hence, as we did in Bloomberg, in order to redefine the space, we chose to think of the kitchen as the food truck and the sitting area as a terrace. This helped unlock the design.


Using the walls to run a continuous bench allowed us to turn the outward looking layout on its head, and combined with a cluster of small tables, offered flexibility to cater for individuals and groups alike.


The use of small, stackable stools came from the need to address especially busy times in which some of these may need to be stacked up in a corner.

APPEARANCE


Using the walls to run a continuous bench allowed us to turn the outward-looking layout on its head, and combined with a cluster of small tables, offered flexibility to cater for individuals and groups alike.


The use of small, stackable stools came from the need to address especially busy times in which some of these may need to be stacked up in a corner.


We selected a natural pallet of materials to help us build a link with those selected for Bloomberg: FSC approved timber, British made black glazed tiles, a concrete-like warm grey and black metalwork as an accent rather than the main colour.

Another key element was the need to communicate  Bleecker's London based story as part of the overall design and so we worked closely with Alison Sampson and Robin Signs, the specialist sign painters who were in charge of transferring her work to the context of the restaurant.


Since this is a West London Location frequented by tourists and the Bleecker brand is rooted in the East End of London, we felt this could be a good approach to differentiate Bleecker from their large chain competitors.


IMPLEMENTATION

Three weekends was a significant amount of time for the business to remain close, but they were tight for three different teams to organise themselves and for large deliveries to arrive at an operational restaurant with events to think about.


After careful consideration, off-site manufacture was the only possible solution for such a programme of works and so, after speaking to each relevant team, the client and atelier EURA planned the works accordingly.


The metalworks were bespoke for this project and built by Hopkins editions in their workshop. The benches had to be delivered in parts in order to facilitate transport and storage on site for two days.

The wall paneling was designed to be installed within the time constraints and built off site by the building team as so were the rest of the timber elements which were ordered cut to size to minimise wastage.

The tiling (by DesignWorks) was carefully planned to minimise cuts and wastage.


The mural, was conceived as a rather large puzzle by Robin Signs where the use of masks prepared in their own studio allowed them to complete it on time.


The refurbishment, which is almost complete, has been an example of teamwork and the emerging results very positive.




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atelier EURA Ltd.

London, UK

Architecture,  ロンドンの建築家, Arquitectura, 


Tel: +44(0)207 267 7120

 

Registered in England and Wales

No. 08199933

 

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