Zela restaurant is in a prominent corner of the ground floor of the refurbished Norman Foster’s, Hotel Me in West End London, with two marvellous arched window facades. The space is 300 m2, rectangular in floorplan with a height of 2,90m at its centre and 3,50m at its perimeter next to the façade.
The existing space, remodelled by Studio Gronda, retained its original ceiling heights, the two arched window facades and the two solid back walls. Keeping these elements in mind, the design team targeted three key design elements, the arches, the centre ceiling and back walls.
The prominent façade arches provide a connection between the public and private space, an inside- outside view that is treated as a vertical green, lush tropical garden. The main dining space features a new dropped glass ceiling, composed by two different types of translucent glass “tiles” that randomly form a semi open canopy. The two bars at the back of the space, a sushi and cocktail bar, transform the solid back walls and visually close the space. The illusion of the tropical garden is further enhanced though the printed wallpaper with forest leitmotivs which is placed on the inside of the façade’s perimeter.
The lush, green arches are a dominant presence in the space since they are approximately 3 meters high by 2.50 meters wide. Two lighting systems are used to highlight the entire arch. At the beginning of each arch, very small 10o symmetrical wall grazers are located at the bottom together with an asymmetrical 10o x 45o spotlight, which covers the centre part of the arch. Fixtures are surface mounted and hidden, between vegetation, as the existing slab did not allow for recess mounting. Next to the arch, within the 3.5-meter ceiling, a surface mounted track with accent fixtures is located to provide brilliance at table centres as well as highlights within the printed wallpaper.
In the central dropped glass ceiling, a linear luminaire is integrated within the structure allowing the translucent glass panel to glow through edge lighting. The tables below are lit through very small, surface mounted track fixtures on the higher ceiling which are carefully coordinated with dropped glass ceiling openings. Careful angle studies and design of ceiling openings and track locations were done allowing for multiple table layouts.
And finally, the two bars were an important design element within the space since they were intended to be the visual closure of the restaurant. The sushi bar recreates a low lighting level scheme, highlighting the served dishes at the bar through pin-whole recessed mounted downlights on the ceiling while highlighting the “fish tiles” of the vertical surfaces, both through recessed mounted LED channels, above and below countertop. The cocktail bar on the other hand, backlights the translucent stone countertop allowing for a more dramatic light scene during the night. Soft dimmed pin-whole downlights allow for drinks to nevertheless enjoy a bit of brilliance and small LED strips within shelving units, allow for bottles and glassware to be softly lit.
Watts per square meter: VEEI of 2.78 w/m2/100lux and 6.9w/m2 Energy-code: national energy efficiency code CTE-HE-3 All lighting systems are LED, dimmable, Dali and are 2700oK.
Location: London, UK
Completion date: October 2018
Client: Mabel Capital
Interior Design: Studio Gronda
Lighting Design: BMLD designing with light
Photographer: Marek Jarosz
Main Lighting Suppliers: LLuria, Zumtobel, Lucent, Luce&Light, Cooledge, Lutron