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FOCUS 061


Project Birdies, Battersea


DESIGN IN some areas of the hotel, restaurant, bar and club sector has become increasingly more diverse, dramatic and occasionally downright outlandish in an attempt to create a competitive edge. Like retail, the drive has also been to counter the digital with the experiential, especially, though not exclusively, at the youthful end of the demographic scale.


Above Birdies has attempted to give itself the experiential edge with giant sculptures of melted ice cream and liquorice sweets


In some cases, there have been attempts to offer more than just, say, a dining or conventional hospitality concept. A CNN article a few years ago cited the example of no less than four Hong Kong restaurants that combined dining with an art gallery experience, while the US 21c Museum Hotel chain, the Art Hotel in Santorini and others have pulled off a similar concept on a larger scale. More subtly, there has been a blurring of lines between the café, the bar, the restaurant and even the nightclub, with venues occasionally morphing from one to the other in order to extend hours and maximise revenues. Tis means that design has had to be more nimble and adaptable to different atmospheres.


First, catching the eye and then retaining the challenged attention span of potential patrons calls for novelty, colour and dynamism. And there is only so much minimalism and


monochromacity that can be borne before the desire erupts to counter the constraint with colour and pattern. Light dances in these environments. When decorative hair is let down, lighting must play its part in the fun, and – because of its potential for colour and dynamism – frequently orchestrates it.


Birdies, in London’s Battersea district, with design by Shed, is a classic example of this new breed of venue. Tucked away under the iconic Battersea Power Station train arches, it is billed as an ‘electric sports social hybrid experience’, a mash-up of ‘cocktails, fusion tacos and the craziest of crazy golf courses’. Te role of lighting, and occasionally lack of it, is crucial to the design, according to Shed’s David Dalziel, partner and lead designer of Birdies. ‘As part of the overall aim to conceptualise a vibrant and visually crazy golf venue like no other, lighting played a huge part in achieving the unique immersive atmosphere,’ he says. ‘Te intentionally chaotic and electrically charged environment was designed with a playful lighting approach to specific areas, holes, pockets and front bar area – whether to highlight, confuse, delight or immerse the customer, be that the player, the drinker, or, more often, both.


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