Gail Taylor
Monday 19 Mar 2018

London-based architect, Nick Leith-Smith has again paired up with hospitality strategists, Forward Associates, to open a new dining destination within the heart of luxury department store, Liberty of London. Working with them on the project were hospitality specialists, Levy Restaurants and fit-out specialists, Portview.

Named after the store’s founder, Arthur Lazenby Liberty, Arthurs’ is a 100-cover, 170 sq m restaurant serving contemporary British cuisine. Leith-Smith took inspiration from the store’s artistic beginnings during the Arts and Crafts movement, as characterised by William Morris and Philip Webb. 

The centrepiece of the room is a standout marble-topped bar with brass detailing. The bar wraps around the restaurant, providing a contemplative focal point from the seated areas. It is deliberately oversized. Roy Westwood of Forward Associates explains: “The bar plays on the idea of placing the exaggerated within the confined. It changes the dynamic between front and back of house and brings the preparation of food and drink centre stage. The bar is a celebration of craftsmanship and everything that is good about Liberty of London.”

The front of the bar is adorned in handmade glazed tiles, arranged diagonally and graduating in colour from dark blues, burgundy and metallics to a softer palette of pinks and greys. It extends through the dining room and is complemented by elegant bar stools upholstered in cameo pink. The dark metal gantry overhead is delicately draped with ribbons of copper. 

On entering the restaurant, guests are greeted by an inviting row of scalloped shaped banquette seating - picked out in alternating blue and green upholstered velvet - and semi-circular tables of dark timber trimmed in brass. Feature globe pendant lighting hangs overhead. 

Circular Italian marble-topped tables and Thonet coffee house chairs are a classic nod to the era. A striped geometric wall design, in vintage pinks, adds drama to the space. Warm metal hues with brass and copper details are used to harmonise with the dark timber and velvet upholstery in midnight blue, teal green and dusty pink. 

Gail Taylor

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