MEATliquor, London, UK
Monday 14 Jan 2013


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When interior architects Shed first collaborated with the Meatailer enterprise, a design formula was created that would mean no two establishments would ever be the same; originality and nonconformity are at the heart of the Meat- Wagon's philosophy so all environments had to embody this ethos while taking on their own character.

The concept: to take an idea borne of location and environment and mince that up with the Meat Wagon's utilitarian ‘no nonsense' approach - all materials in their raw form, all elements explicit in their function.

Lurking beneath a car park just behind Oxford Street resided the perfect site for MEATliquor - the Meatailer's next venture. Previously the site of an Italian restaurant, the site was appropriately kitted out with an impressive Rococo style dome and a mass of ornate columns and architraves. So with this influence the idea came: a modern day mural to make Michelangelo weep, a 'tattoo' that would envelop and intertwine with the obscurity of the building. A scene that would tell some of the Meat Wagon's story so far and mutate the classical architecture into something far more appropriate to the Meat philosophy.

Shed commissioned the prolific design collective ‘I Love Dust' to administer the monumental illustration. In just a week, a team of illustrators and graphic artists camped out on site to adorn as much visible surface as possible, with colourful tales from the Meat Wagon's past, culminating in an extreme and almost hallucinogenic visual experience.  

Red ‘liquor' signs have been suspended in the windows to splay dull light over the dyed oxblood red, leather banquettes. Industrial cage lamps are hooked and gathered around galvanised steel hooks and suspended over blackened steel framed tables. Red cord is looped from the centre of the dome to reach salvaged industrial work lamps, positioned to highlight poignant images trapped within the trailing mural.

Industrial rubber flooring and an 8-metre long stainless steel bar with corrugated sheet façade resonates the sterility of a factory environment. Occupying the floor is a small army of vintage industrial seating, all powder coated in just two utilitarian colours. A length of ‘butchers' curtains contains the lower level ‘Pit'; the MEATLiquor's VIP area where guests can enjoy the thoughts of Hunter S Thompson that adorn the walls.

Shed are delighted to have had this opportunity to venture out of the realms of the corporate world. ‘A project like this comes up once in a lifetime. To have a chance to push boundaries of what may be considered indecent, inappropriate and downright wrong, and to have this concept whole heartedly backed by the client is one in a million. The history of the Meat Wagon has been the driving force behind every aspect of this project but what remains now is an entirely new beast.' Shed