A Historic London Property Is Converted Into a Modern Mediterranean Eatery

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By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo
The ground floor and basement of a historic structure become a warm, inviting modern restaurant after a major renovation.

When Tatjana von Stein and Gayle Noonan of London–based design firm Sella Concept were tapped by restaurateur and hotelier Omar Shabaan to design his new London eatery, Omar's Place, they were given an open brief to shape the space and establish a graphic identity for the brand.

Yet, there was one stipulation: the design had to correspond with the "sophisticated Mediterranean" character of the menu and create a lively, welcoming "neighborhood haunt" in order to seamlessly integrate into the eatery's historic Pimlico location.

The circular motif of the sun echoes throughout the design of the modern space, including the shape of the bar, the curved edges of the joinery, and the custom fluted banquette seating.

The circular motif of the sun echoes throughout the design of the modern space, including the shape of the bar, the curved edges of the joinery, and the custom fluted banquette seating.

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The design duo were up for the challenge and uncovered inspiration from an unexpected source—the sun. From the restaurant's visual identity to its interior features and furnishings, the circular shape of the sun became the core element of design. 

Custom-made rust-colored tubular suede banquettes accentuate the warm color palette.

Custom-made rust-colored tubular suede banquettes accentuate the warm color palette.

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Sella Concept teamed up with their long-standing collaborator, the architecture consultancy Wilson Holloway, to take care of the technical aspects of the design and also refurbish the challenging Grade-II listed property. It took almost six months of careful revisions and negotiations to obtain the requisite permissions relating to the building’s historic listing, but once secured, the redevelopment progressed rapidly. 

The dining chairs are from Carl Hansen. Terrazzo tables pick up on the design of the bar which utilizes the same material.

The dining chairs are from Carl Hansen. Terrazzo tables pick up on the design of the bar which utilizes the same material.

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The result is a bold, warm, and distinctly Milanese aesthetic, featuring polished terracotta walls, multicolored terrazzo tiles, scalloped Sapele wood slats on the walls, end-grain wooden floors, and rust-colored tubular suede banquettes.

RA wall lamps from D’Armes illuminate the walls with chic, contemporary style. 

RA wall lamps from D’Armes illuminate the walls with chic, contemporary style. 

Shades of peach and teal dominate the color palette, while clean-cut brass lines create an elegant contrast with the organic curves and soft contours of the space.

Scalloped Sapele wood slats on the walls add a textural organic element. The gorgeous brass and velvet Tonello armchairs are from Note Design Studio, and the end-grain wood flooring is from Havwoods. 

Scalloped Sapele wood slats on the walls add a textural organic element. The gorgeous brass and velvet Tonello armchairs are from Note Design Studio, and the end-grain wood flooring is from Havwoods. 

"We worked with a base of earthy colors and textures nodding to the Mediterranean background and built up a scheme from there. Our choice of materials blends the natural, organic feel of wood with plaster walls, Corten steel, and an organic color scheme with beautiful terrazzo, brass, velvet, and mirror finishes," explains Noonan. 

Assorted brass pendant lighting from Pool hangs over the terrazzo bar. 

Assorted brass pendant lighting from Pool hangs over the terrazzo bar. 

The team has also created bespoke fixtures and fittings—which include sculptural wall pieces in brass and patinated metal—and incorporated other unique furnishings, such as dining chairs from Carl Hansen, Tonello armchairs from Note Design Studio, RA wall lamps from D’Armes, and FR pendant lights from Pool.

The restaurant's menu features creations from Mallorcan–born Vicente Fortea, who is a Michelin-kitchen veteran chef.

The restaurant's menu features creations from Mallorcan–born Vicente Fortea, who is a Michelin-kitchen veteran chef.

After several months of renovation, Omar’s Place is now complete. The ground floor can seat 36 guests, and its downstairs section—which makes a great venue for private events—can accommodate up to 50 people.

The paneling on the bar is Mutina Rombini tiles by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec.

The paneling on the bar is Mutina Rombini tiles by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec.

Project Credits: 

Architect of Record: Wilson Holloway

Interior Design: Sella Concept