Caroline Usher of Ushers By Design is widely considered to be at the forefront of raising Bali’s profile in the ranks of Asia’s dining and design scene. She has recently created interiors for two new culinary hotspots on the island which aim to ‘truly raise the bar’. The first is a wood-fire restaurant called Salazon; the second, SoulBytes, is described appropriately as ‘soulful’ in concept.
The 96-seater Salazon is modern in style and features a private dining room, a dry-aging showroom, a walk-in wine cellar and the only counter dining experience in Bali, where customers can enjoy their meals while the chefs cook alongside.
Salazon is a large, long space, so Ushers By Design deliberately created an amazing vista for the customer as they walk in. The eye is drawn to the far reaches of the space where the wine room and butchery section are located. According to the designer, there is ‘definitely a sense of intrigue as you cross the threshold’.
In contrast, SoulBytes is a ‘café inspired by philosopher and writer, Alain de Botton’s School-of-Life’ concept, with capacity for 80 people. In order to reflect the philosophical ethos of the business, Ushers By Design created a space that is at once homely, inviting and soulful. The design was required to create a real feeling of being welcomed into a space for quiet contemplation.
However, Ushers By Design also wanted to allow room for ‘drama and wow’, that moment when ‘a particular philosopher’s quote seems to have been written just for you’. Variations and contrasts in colours, finishings, lighting and furniture were used to create a diverse, intellectual, yet warm ambience – ‘somewhere to feel at home when not at home’.