Location: 16 Bloomberg Arcade, London EC4N 8AR
Main Contractor: Interiors UK
Electrics: Amdon Electrical Ltd
Extraction: Summit Designs
Plumbing: JRC Maintenance
Sprinklers: First fire protection Ltd
Building control: Mullee Associates
Acoustic Engineers: Auricl
Hand-painted Signage by Robin SignsMetalwork: Hopkins Editions (UK made)Tileworks: Designworks Tiles & Johnson Tiles (UK made)Crittal: Forme Partitions (UK made)Entrance matting: EMS (UK made)Completed Project images by: Morley von Sternberg
When Bloomberg’s Chief food critic Richard Vines in consultation with fellow critic Nicholas Lander curated the new Bloomberg HQ's restaurant line up and Bleecker was selected, our clients knew they wanted us to design a restaurant which would embrace the opportunity of being part of the most sustainable office building.
The vision of former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg became a reality in the hands of the team at Foster + Partners, who managed to deliver the highest scoring office building in the context of BREEAM with a score of 98.5. (The benchmark system used to asses such characteristics)
From our point of view, it was a true honour to be asked to design the interior and graphics for Bleecker.
The beautifully crafted 1 billion pound project sits at the heart of the city comfortably and respectful to its context.
A very positive use of the often overlooked Ground Floor, the development has not only recuperated a historical route and some of the most exciting Roman ruins in recent years but also curate a crowd-drawing line up for its Food Arcade which has consolidated as a destination.
The high quality of every detail, preserved through the collaboration between the architects and contractors is palpable and the Bloomberg team have done a fantastic job at remaining involved in every aspect and motivating all involved.
Bleecker arrived to the Street-food scene in a Food truck and has remained informal and produce focused throughout its growth. With this in mind, there were several targets we wanted to achieve:
Bringing London and New York (the city of origin of the concept behind the company) together
Creating a set up which could mimic the way the truck, and the Southbank pop-ups, work: Compact kitchen and informal/adaptable sitting to eat in
Embracing the opportunity and create the most beautiful accessible wc in town.
Integrating Signage and Branding in the design
The layout was quickly determined by the kitchen flow and service but in order to decide the finishes, we embraced the opportunity to explore New York City in search of a language which could bring the concept together.
Borrowing from London and NYC's iconic undergrounds, and working closely with our suppliers, we were able to devise a strategy which connected to familiar images without having to result to being literal.
From previous experience, we knew the client was keen to be able to control the lighting levels at different times of the day.
Furthermore, through the use of hard materials, we were very aware of the importance of choosing the right type of light to avoid the harshness many restaurants suffer.
This is why we made the decision to use dimmable systems which combine adjustable down-lighters with up-lighers and highlighters.
One thing we could not have envisaged was the very low lighting levels the walkway would benefit from.
As part of the BREEAM strategy, the glazing above the walk-through is tinted as are the frontages on the ground floor in order to minimise heat gain. Because of it, however, the natural light levels are very poor and the reliance on artificial lighting considerable.
Given the limited space available, it very quickly became clear that we needed to maximise the use of the pod which became both kitchen and wc.
It also became the menu display and bin enclosure. (the latter being required to complement a freestanding one doubling as packaging station by the entrance.
The success of the project rests in the fact that the constraints (space, budget etc) became challenges which made us push the brief forward for the benefit of our client
One o those constraints was the need to use an acoustic ceiling to prevent noise spread to the offices situated above the restaurant.
Rather than using a traditional false ceiling which would have reduced the sense of space, we opted for a suspended system which worked well with the services and provided a further layer of dynamism.
Diversity and Equality are high in our agenda as a practice as are in our client's.
This is why when faced with the challenge of incorporating a wheelchair accessible WC, we decided, as a team, to design a beautiful one which did not feel like a compromise.
We searched for beautiful fittings and fixtures and placed the turning circle in the front rather than the end of the room to ensure it did not become a cluttered area.
Through this experience, we learnt about the ergonomics behind the positioning of the elements and found ways to overcome the challenges in a way which felt natural.
(note when this photo was taken the paper towel dispenser was in the wrong location as it should have been next to the toilet paper dispenser one in order for one to be able to wash and dry their hands while still sitting on the pan )
The city of London is one of those CBDs which the architectural world has been looking at for years wondering how to encourage use/ life beyond working hours. For our client, this was also a consideration to be had.
Bloomberg, at the heart of the city, was one development which considered the value of a good ground floor offer which would draw people in even during weekends.
When designing the layout, one thing we had in mind was flexibility. From lunchtime working lunches to Friday afternoon team lunches or family weekend outings, the tables and benches had to provide an opportunity for the customer to shape the space as they needed to.
Furthermore, a combination of loose furniture with a continuous bench across the longest wall has proven to be useful both for parents with prams, and mobility impaired customers who are not limited by a fixed layout.
Bleecker founder Zan Kaufman with NYC Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg
Photo by Bleecker (visit their Facebook page to see more HERE)