The venue needed to run from dawn until midnight, shifting from bleary-eyed espresso house into sunlit breakfast room into lunchtime power meeting into dusky pre-show drink into dinner service into late night wine bar.
We bought the chairs, and then made everything else ourselves. We tried to pair sensitivity with conviction. First, cold grey tiled floors were replaced with naked oak planks, and then the oak became everything – wall panelling, cabinetry, tables, sofas, picture frames.
The organic warmth of pale timber became the base note around which everything else spun. Broad round lamp shades were spun from copper, fabrics weaves were warm against the skin, and the objects that filled the space were hand-potted, hand-carved and textural.
As important was the software. The kitchen is like home: a square island and a little wall of cookers behind it. The person cooking is doing so at your table. The long room is broken into smaller spaces favouring cosiness and intimacy; high-backed sofas define little sitting spaces and the lamps hang low in a tall room.
We hoped that all this would add up to something people would treat as their own; a humble, warm and familiar little collection of dining rooms.