Critically acclaimed product and interior designer Lee Broom has designed a new restaurant and cocktail lounge in Soho, London for brother and sister duo Maria and Costas Constantinou, a contemporary take on the relaxed elegance of home entertaining in the 1960s.
Entry to Old Tom & English is gained via a heavy slatted wooden door. The doorbell must be rung, whereupon guests are welcomed through a hidden hatch to then be seated at the bar, lounge or one of five personal cloisters. The interiors are warm and contemporary, with a layout that reflects the comfortable atmosphere of being in a good friend's apartment for a casual dinner or an intimate cocktail party.
Broom has used traditional and honest materials such as oak and marble, creating a bar that incorporates multiple levels, a post-modern fire place and striking vertical panelling throughout. The simple grey colour palette used on walls, accessories and upholstery is accentuated with flashes of brass and a vibrant red carpet.
The designer comments: "I thought about the kind of personal service I like to receive in a venue and the theatre of creating drinks in front of you or presenting the food in a way, which considers its interior, like you would at home. The design has been created around those elements and much like the service informs the design, the design of the interior influences the service."
Old Tom & English is seating only and each section has its own personal bar service area, with sideboard, revolving cocktail cabinet or bar cart, from which waiters finish the drinks. Five arched cloisters provide additional privacy for larger parties of 8-10, all of which are named after infamous ladies of the night.
The venue is also the first project to feature Broom's new ‘Nouveau Rebel' marble lighting collection launched during London Design Festival 2014. The sculptural ‘Globe Light' provides a warming glow, ‘Marble Tube Lights' frame the bespoke marble fireplace surround and the ‘On the Rock' glassware is used to serve signature cocktails. Broom also integrates bespoke versions of his collection heroes such as the celebrated ‘Decanterlight' and ‘Crystal Bulb' created with new cuts; solid oak ‘OLO' pendants; and extended ‘Quilt' sofas to provide ample room and comfort for lounge lovers to relax.
Says co-owner of Old Tom & English, Maria Constantinou: "Lee doesn't only deliver elegant, clever and beautiful designs but he understands the complications of this well-loved but tricky business. He embraces a project wholly, from the people involved to the venues local history, and continues to be part of it well after the design has been completed."