Wednesday, February 19th, 2014
Photos by Amy Murrell
The rooms in the Ampersand Hotel, located in the heart of London’s Kensington district, take influence from nearby Victorian museums. Ornithology, astrology, music, botany, and geometry all thematically appear. The hotel’s new dining spot, Apero Bar & Restaurant, ties into these institutions while paying homage to travel and collection.
“The Victorians were keen on reaching out into the world and bringing back items and delicacies from far-flung places,” says Jacqui Kirk, a director at London-based Dexter Moren Associates, the firm that handled the restaurant’s design. “The concept for the dining room was to create a space that would stand apart from the hotel, but it was also important that it embrace its location, so we referenced the local museums through the notions of collections and collecting.”
One such allusion comes in the form of a more than 10- foot “cabinet of curiosities” that welcomes guests as they enter from the street. “It’s filled with a whole host of delights to sip an aperitif in front of,” Kirk says.
Additionally, much of the fixed joinery takes influence from museum display cases with a plethora of dark wood, brass fittings, and classic leathers. To balance this aesthetic with the menu, exposed and painted brickwork offers a Mediterranean vibe.
“The space previously acted as a buffet service for both breakfast and dinner,” Kirk says, “with laminated chipboard surfaces and suspended ceilings concealing features that had not seen the light of day for some time. We chose to strip all of this back to celebrate the original brick- work and vaulted arches to create a lighter space that’s more inviting.”