RDD’s objective was to create a unique lounge bar in keeping with the grand and historic Rocco Forte Collection, of which the Augustine is part, and reflecting the group’s mantra: The Art of Simple Luxury. The result is a resplendent classic vaulted room which at once reflects the cosmopolitan expectations of its clientele.
Named after St Thomas, the patron saint of the 13th century Augustinian monastery that forms one wing of the building, Tom’s Bar is housed in a beautiful double-height former refectory and later a beer hall, complete with the original ‘Four Angels’ fresco on the ceiling and wrought iron chandeliers. The ceiling frescoes were restored by local craftsmen using traditional lime-based paint to replicate the original colour palette. The barrel-vaulted double height hall provided both inspiration and constraint.
In terms of resolving service issues, a freestanding bar with an over-size display panel serves to obscure A/C units, the stills area and a service lift while providing a chic counterpoint to the monastic forms throughout the space. The opaque glass of the back bar panel is internally lit and set into a patinated brass frame; the bar top is in a stunning Petoria marble overlaid with glass. The Bar’s characterful existing doors were kept in situ and carefully refurbished; where additional doors were required, they were designed to complement the existing, and a new oak floor was introduced, laid in the traditional Baroque style. Tom’s Bar leads out onto Tom’s Arcade, a quiet shaded portico with comfortable seating where guests can lounge over a book or enjoy live music. Lighting plays a particularly key role with unadorned uplighters providing a sympathetic replacement to the candles of yesteryear.