International design and architecture studio, Fran Hickman Design & Interiors, have designed the interiors of Locket’s, a new café and wine bar in the heart of Piccadilly.
Since founding her design and architecture studio, Fran Hickman Design & Interiors, in 2014, interior designer Fran Hickman has worked around the world on a variety of projects, including everything from office spaces, private homes and restaurants. The highly successful studio is based in London and New York, and its work is constantly recognised for its highly tailored approach to creating elegant and engaging spaces.
One of the studio’s latest projects has recently been revealed: a brand new all-day café and wine bar called Locket’s, located in the centre of Piccadilly. Set within a Grade II listed building, Fran Hickman has created a contemporary café that pays homage to the old-school St James’ members clubs, as well as nearby Jermyn Street gentlemen’s outfitters.
The iconic Grade II listed building was previously home to The Economist. Found on Smithson Plaza, the building was originally designed by formidable mid-century architectural partners, Alison and Peter Smithson, who are often associated with New Brutalism. Nowadays, the building – completed in 1964 – is regarded as a London landmark, and a “triumph of post-war Brutalism”.
To create Locket’s, the building underwent a major renovation which included extending the existing structure; the café and wine bar now opens up into the newly named Smithson Plaza, which is being hailed as one of the “few quiet places in central London.” Hickman and her team have designed the cafe and wine bar with their signature bespoke touches, creating a space that celebrates the quintessential flair of an Italian piazza within the heart of Piccadilly.
The studio was also careful to respect both the original architects’ philosophy, as well as the landmark building’s heritage. Locket’s interiors were partly inspired by the Smithsons’ Sudgen House, and the beautiful mid-century Milanese residence Villa Borsani; on the floors is an eye-catching monochrome polyvinyl, and Fran Hickman worked with specialist fabricators to create spherical fibreglass pendant lights and amber resin table tops.
"We loved working with Locket and the Wiltons group on the wine bar,” says Fran Hickman, discussing her studio’s work on the café and wine bar’s interiors. “Deeply hospitable and professional, it has been nothing but a pleasure working on this fresh fun addition to the neighbourhood.”
Along the right-hand wall, a cork bar guides guests through the space, while luxurious teal leather banquettes add to the early seventies theme. Interestingly, Locket’s is named after Locket Hambro, the great-granddaughter of Olaf Hambro. Over 275 years ago, Olaf Hambro took over the running of Wiltons, one of St James’s most iconic restaurants. The Hambro family still run Wiltons to this day, and with a long history of family in the hospitality industry, it was only a matter of time before Locket Hambro opened her own offering.
The resulting café and wine bar has a lively atmosphere, in part created by the deep green and warm yellow colour palette; these combine with marble and wooden elements to make sure the informal space remains intimate for guests and diners. Floor to ceiling glass windows fill the space with an abundance of natural daylight, with guests able to overlook the bustling streets and art galleries of Bury Street outside.