A-nrd Studio / Kolae, London


The interior of this bar and grill draws inspiration from details found in the charm of Old Town Bangkok and the stilt houses seen in north-western Thailand


Words By Emily Martin

Images By Eleonora Boscarelli


PROJECT INFO

Client Kolae
Interior Design A-nrd studio www.a-nard.com
Area
350m2
Year completed 2023


LONDON-BASED design practice A-nrd Studio has created an interior concept for a southern Thai bar and grill featuring a material and colour palette that captures the aesthetic of Southeast Asian architecture. Located in a repurposed old London coach house in Borough Market and named after an openflame style of cooking, Kolae – a warehousestyle 350m2 80-cover restaurant set across three floors – features an intimate courtyard dining area at the front of the restaurant and a private dining room located on the top floor. It is also a new opening from Mark Dobbie and Andy Oliver of Som Saa, a Thai restaurant and bar located in London’s Spitalfields area.

The building’ features original floorboards; booth seating with light brown leather upholstery; lighting throughout takes the form of handmade abaca pendant and wall lights, contemporary spots and concealed uplights

Kolae draws its design inspiration from details found in the charm of Old Town Bangkok, with A-nrd Studio’s interior design showcasing decorative timber framework, textured glass, stone, natural textiles, ceramics and leather.

The building’ features original floorboards; booth seating with light brown leather upholstery; lighting throughout takes the form of handmade abaca pendant and wall lights, contemporary spots and concealed uplights

‘The starting point for the concept was Thai culture,’ explain A-nrd Studio founder Alessio Nardi and creative director Lukas Persakovas. ‘We were inspired by charm and the design details found in the buildings of Old Town Bangkok, the mix of natural materials and stylistic elements in particular, alongside architectural design cues from the region – we looked to the stilt houses seen in north-western Thailand for the bespoke furniture that we designed for the project.’

The building’ features original floorboards; booth seating with light brown leather upholstery; lighting throughout takes the form of handmade abaca pendant and wall lights, contemporary spots and concealed uplights

A cement floor, exposed brickwork and limewashed plaster walls in warm tones create a humble and homely, welcoming environment. The space features a custom open-kitchen counter and cocktail bar crafted from textured clay plaster with a dark oak countertop – it features a stylised ‘stilted’ skirted base that takes its cues from the traditional stilt house culture seen across north-western Thai architecture.

The building’ features original floorboards; booth seating with light brown leather upholstery; lighting throughout takes the form of handmade abaca pendant and wall lights, contemporary spots and concealed uplights

The seating is designed by A-nrd Studio and is a mix of bar stools composed of simple geometric forms, booth seating with light brown leather upholstery, with travertine inlaid tables, which line the wall opposite the bar and grill. ‘As a studio we have worked incredibly hard to become known for the bespoke elements that we bring to a project,’ comment Nardi and Persakovas. ‘Furniture design is something we are very passionate about [and] that element of our work enhances the interior to create unique spaces, which stand apart from other studios and peers. The custom furniture at Kolae was [also] inspired by the stilt house culture of north-western Thai architecture. We took the vertical stilts as a starting point and created a sophisticated and subtle design language around it. I think the result feels very inspired and authentic.’

The seating is created by A-nrd Studio, which is ‘passionate’ about furniture design

A minimalist back bar features bespoke shelving, decorated with authentic Thai ceramics and greenery. The oak used to craft all the custom furniture and fixtures at Kolae is hand-planed, a traditional technique chosen by A-nrd to add texture and character to the wood, with the studio working closely with skilled UK-based joiners to achieve the desired look.

An abundance of lush green plants acts as decoration and space dividers throughout

A bespoke panel of irregular handmade ceramic tiles form a marbled quartz effect pattern in amber and blue tones and breaks the large expanse of brickwork to create a feature wall. A collaboration between A-nrd and Thai ceramists Lamunlamai studio, the clay used is mixed with food waste to create a new and more sustainable type of decorative tile. Lighting on the ground floor takes the form of handmade abaca pendant and wall lights, contemporary spots and concealed uplights.

An abundance of lush green plants acts as decoration and space dividers throughout

‘We love to work with up-and-coming designers, makers, and artisans to add something special and unexpected to a project,’ say Nardi and Persakovas. ‘Drawing inspiration from the iconic Thai fishing boat… commonly seen in the coastal regions of Southern Thailand, the ceramic work in amber and blue tones plays with surface texture and pattern to capture and evoke the beauty of the sea and create the illusion of water reflecting off the boats. The mural offers a unique blend of contemporary ceramic artistry and traditional Thai maritime culture.’

An abundance of lush green plants acts as decoration and space dividers throughout

On the first floor, the connecting stairwell continues to draw inspiration from Thai architecture with an enclosed dark oak frame encasing a patchwork of seeded glass panes. Here, traditional bamboo blinds hang. A continued use of materials and finishes such as limewashed plaster, exposed brickwork, graphic spotlights, and abaca pendant lights create a cohesion across the three levels. The building’s original floorboards add to a warehouse feel and seating is comprised of bespoke booths and benches in dark oak and leather with sculptural walnut dining chairs. A large group table is tucked away in an intimate niche and offers a semi-private sanctuary. An abundance of lush green plants acts as decoration and space dividers.

An abundance of lush green plants acts as decoration and space dividers throughout

On the second floor A-nrd Studio has created a convivial and relaxed loft for private dining. Here, a pitched limewashed roof features exposed timber beams where oversized traditional abaca lanterns hang. Custom inlaid travertine tables designed by A-nrd can be joined to seat larger parties of up to 16 or separated into tables of four and are paired with curved wooden armchairs.

An abundance of lush green plants acts as decoration and space dividers throughout

Nardi comments: ‘We’re really pleased with the design of Kolae. It’s always a challenge when a restaurant crosses multiple levels, but there is a real cohesion across the space. Whether you’re perched at the bar or sat on the top floor in the loft, Kolae feels convivial, buzzy, welcoming and authentically designed, and we hope that diners feel truly transported when they step inside.’


KEY SUPPLIERS

Lighting

Pinch www.fopinchdesign.com

Mullan www.mullenligthing.com

Furniture

A-nrd Studio

Hill Cross www.hillcrossfurniture.co.uk

Nkuku www.nkuku.com

Flooring

Topcret www.topcret.com

Surfaces

Clayworks www.clay-works.com

Yarwood Leather www.yarwoodleather.com








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