Following the huge success of the Caramel Restaurant and Lounge in Dubai’s DIFC location, hospitality brand Caramel Group and its subsidiary Al Zaman Group have taken the concept to London, their first overseas venture which opened in March 2018. “The brief created by the client was to create a dedicated venue in the city of London showcasing an evolved design approach and brand identity to the existing Caramel group, making it the most up-to-date representation of the brand ideology and sentiments moving forward,” says Paul Bishop, founder of Bishop Design.
The address, 272 Brompton Road, which was previously the site of La Brasserie restaurant, is located in the upscale borough of Knightsbridge and Chelsea. The objective was to create a stylish, yet relaxed interior, which has been split into restaurant, bar and lounge areas.
“The interiors were to be sophisticated and stylish, inspired by an art deco era embracing dynamic finishes,” says Bishop. “We used a mix of natural materials such as copper, brass, natural marble and cementitious surfaces, bespoke lighting features, pared-down, yet exquisitely styled furniture, relaxed and plush upholstery, and bold styling that naturally complimented its site location and its brand ethos.”
The entire venue features subtle details such as the seamless Senso printed flooring to its exposed, raw, yet intricate ceiling details. The unique statement furniture and the lighting add a sensory experience. One of the design highlights in particular is the bespoke bar, a handcrafted piece, which creates a focal point. It combines an array of material combinations of natural and man-made surfaces such as backlit alabaster, polished copper, black chrome, and cold-rolled steel.
In addition to the bar, there are hexagonal fitted booths with details that correspond with the elegant, old school, yet modern spirit of the establishment. “The interior design of Caramel remains sympathetic to current trends, while also responding to its immediate surroundings,” says Bishop.
Notable elements in the project are the fluid resin floors integrated with stencil artworks produced by Senso; the ultimate masonry skills crafted to create the backlit alabaster bar surface and external signage; and a series of infinity mirrored ceilings that adorn the horizontal surfaces within.
There were challenges on the project aplenty. One of them was the inherited structure, which had a residential block attached to it. “We wanted to minimise the disturbance to the residents, not only in terms of the construction, but also by creating a venue that was sympathetic to the residents. Servicing, operations and acoustics played a major role. Managing the project from afar was also challenging to say the least, and the building being located in the middle of the bustling city meant that there were lots of compliance guideline to adhere to. I think the most testing part was to create a brand that is respectful of its Middle Eastern origin, but at the same time evolved for the cosmopolitan culture of London,” shares Bishop.