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deliberately avoid what’s ‘on trend’ although we understand it’s necessary to appeal to today’s customer, so we have to be current and relevant. It’s vital to look at the market and understand what’s going on for the purpose of differentiation. You must understand what’s happening in order to do something different. I can explain this best through a project we completed for Curzon Cinemas. It was their flagship cinema in Victoria. Much of our inspiration comes from looking outside of the category so in this instance we looked at retail design and took the client to see the fashion stores in New Bond Street. All the high end fashion stores have embraced digital technology and digital content throughout their spaces. Tey animate their product ranges, showing catwalks, location shoots and so on, on beautiful digital screens. Very few cinemas use that technology to that degree and that became part of our inspiration. Also, I’m inspired by many great designers of the past and how their work is still relevant today. so we combined the technology with the classical styles of the past.

about how a business would operate and how the client could make more money out of their space, how they can sell their product and tell their story through the design and through branding. I wrote that quote about five years ago after we’d been engaged in a lot of different projects and I wanted to describe what we did. It’s not interior design. Effectively we are using the space, four

walls, a ceiling and a floor, to tell a story, to add innovation and value and to be classic and timeless.

The AKollection

I’m a trained product designer and I always wanted to design and brand my own collection. I’ve designed many things in the past for other companies and they have the rights to brand those things without saying who designed them. And so now that I have my own company I decided I wanted us to create our own collection. It’s called the AKollection, and we have designed lights, furniture pieces and items that can be used as signature pieces and these are for hoteliers, architects, designers and restaurateurs to buy. It’s a small range of limited edition pieces and this is one of our latest pieces. It’s called the Calcutta Tile, inspired by much of the architecture that we found in Calcutta, which was very art deco in style. The tiles are designed so they can be fitted together to create different patterns.

40 GS Magazine

GS How can you create spaces that are current yet classic and timeless at the same time? AK Tat’s an interesting question because we

GS You designed the first Dishoom Indian restaurant in Covent Garden, which is phenomenally successful. What’s the design story behind that? AK I met the three founders back in 2008 and they told me they wanted to create an “Indian Wagamama”. Something that was minimalist in style, like Wagamama, but with Indian influences. Tey gave me a pile of books with lots of pictures that they liked from India. Tat was the brief. And it took me a while to realise that they didn’t really want to look like Wagamama at all, but they wanted the essence of what Wagamama represented and created. Tey wanted to create something that was totally different within the Indian casual dining category. All that was around then were the typical high street Indian restaurants which all looked pretty much the same. Horrible stereotypes full of flock wallpaper, bright

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