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The first thing that strikes you when you walk into M Restaurant on Threadneedle Walk, is how big the space is, yet how intimate it feels! This brand new 12,000 square foot London eatery, set over three levels, was a collaboration between a veteran restaurateur and his interior designer...


M


artin Williams’ vision was to create an establishment that would appeal to a broad spectrum of gastronomes and offer the best cuts of


meat as well as the finest ‘raw’ cuisine. Coupled with this, the interiors had to emulate a sleek and sophisticated ambiance that would feel intimate yet familiar; in his words ‘a boutique hotel without any rooms’ or a ‘private members club with no members’. In order to achieve this, Williams wanted a design team that did not specialise in commercial work; but one that would have a different take on how the scheme would evolve, while being able to synthesize the qualities of a residential interior with the necessary attributes of a restaurant. Enter René Dekker Design, a boutique practice specialising in global high end interior projects. The studio, barely two and half years old, was already making a name for itself with a string of stunning projects to their credit. The entire project took sixteen weeks from


start to finish. The design team had a short window of opportunity when they were first engaged, to come up with a rationalised and considered scheme regardless of the space: Williams had not yet found the ideal location but needed a concept that could be developed and rolled out no matter where the restaurant might be situated. Once the City site was agreed, there was an


ambitious programme from when the builders, Hannah Contracts, started on site, to the official opening eight weeks later. While also previously having operated as a restaurant, there was nevertheless a lot to accomplish in order to realise the dream. Apart from the kitchen, which would remain in its current location, the rest of the interior would need to be completely stripped out. The staircase (a double semi-circle design) which didn’t function properly due to its location, had to be removed and re-fitted as a single option in a central position to draw in the patrons up to the destination cocktail bar on the mezzanine floor. The bar was relocated from the back wall to the right hand side and a private members ‘Den’ was added. All traces of the original brass handrails had to be replaced


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with bronze to suit the new scheme, and the lighting design needed some serious work. The plan also needed to include a generous number of couverts, on which the client placed a great deal of emphasis; so the interior design team at René Dekker produced several layouts incorporating loose as well as banquette seating. It took quite a few attempts to achieve the desired figure, especially after the client decided he wanted to add more private dining rooms and a coat check on the lower ground floor, which completely impacted on the floor space. A large hole was created in the far corner of the Grill side to fit a new staircase which could take the clientele down to two further private dining rooms, a small meeting room and a generous coat check. On the ground floor the space is divided into


two main areas by the clever use of bespoke designed, bronze screens, emblazoned with the subtle but ubiquitous M logo. To the left is ‘M Grill’, which serves some of the finest cuts of


beef in Europe including Kobe 10 ++. The scheme is a fusion of many elements, most notably the strong teal fabrics on the banquette seating, supplied by Style Matters, mixed with subtle wool tweeds on the chocolate brown arm chairs which create a sumptuous, yet simple ambience. Everywhere you look, René Dekker Design


have added exciting textural elements leaving no surface unadorned, such as the faux eel skin wall paper by Elitis, which decks the walls in the banquette niche. Next to the aging room (a fabulous glass fronted meat curing chamber), a feature wall has been decorated in a specialist finish by renowned London based specialist decorators, DKT, that resembles distressed timber, skilfully incorporating large flecks of gold leaf for added glamour. The client wanted a scheme that was unique and exciting but that would still be self-deprecating, and this is evident in the selection of art as seen in one of the many provocatively stylish Miles Aldridge photos that adorn the restaurant.


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