Aston Villa is upping its game on and off the pitch. Branding and strategy specialists, Forward Associates, have teamed up with architects Nick Leith-Smith to transform the hospitality offered at the club.
Together, with the help of hospitality specialists Levy Restaurants and contractors Benchmark, they have created an exclusive fine dining experience in the form of the Directors Club. Designed to offer an unparalleled game experience, the Director’s Club delivers fans the best seat in the house alongside a delicious menu.
The club offers panoramic views of the pitch, providing its guests with a VIP experience. Nick Leith-Smith explained that the space was designed to remind visitors of the club’s rich history:
“We looked at the all of the stages of the club and how it started. We wanted it to resemble some of its roots. We wanted it to feel traditional in some senses with the panelling low level and the moulding, but we wanted to bring it up to date with the branding and the story of the club, bringing together different eras so that there was an eclectic feel to the design, not just one mono inspiration.” He said.
Sitting in the middle of the restaurant is the Director’s box. Glazed partitions and a wall of wine, provide diners with a glimpse into this exclusive area, whilst providing privacy for its VIP members.
Nick said: “Putting the box actually on the halfway line was a major part of the planning. That’s the best viewing position on the pitch and previously they weren’t on the halfway line. We thought this was an opportunity to make an impact on the directors and the top tier members by putting them in the middle of the space so they can really become club royalty and create an identity.”
Two marble-topped bars act as swanky bookends to the dining area. Made using steel and brass, the bars create monolithic focal points at either end of the room. The brass skirting surrounds the steel front panels to create a stylish area for customers to rest a pint.
In terms of colour palette, the design incorporates the classic hues associated with Aston Villa. However, to avoid an overbearing aesthetic, the interior features different shades of blue to give the room greater depth. Dark oak floors are a have been inspired by traditional décor seen throughout the clubs history, while brass skirting creates an exclusive vibe.
Bright furniture in a range of shapes and sizes and geometric tiles provide the club with a modern finish and Michael Anastassiades’ balancing balls wall lights are a cheeky nod to the game.
Nick Said about the end result: “We are really proud of is how it has created a culture and identity for the club. People can come in and say: ‘this is our dining room this is our space and we are proud of it.’”