The ‘bite-size’ bou­tique

Unashamedly glam­orous, in­cred­i­bly lux­u­ri­ous and el­e­gant, The Par­lour is a ‘ bite size’ res­tau­rant that has be­come the place to be seen amongst Seoul’s fash­ion­istas and busi­ness high fly­ers. Cre­ated by JHP, the bou­tique res­tau­rant blends food and fash­ion i

VM&RD - - INTERNATIONAL DESIGN - Chanda Ku­mar

Set in the base­ment of the head­quar­ters of SPC Cor­po­ra­tion, South Korea’s largest res­tau­rant chain op­er­a­tor, the re­cently launched ‘The Par­lour’ is pos­si­bly the best kept se­cret in town. Born from an idea de­vel­oped be­tween SPC Corp and JHP, the de­sign firm was com­mis­sioned to bring the whole ex­pe­ri­ence to life. The de­sign agency de­vel­oped the com­plete brand ar­chi­tec­ture- its name, its iden­tity, graph­ics and pho­to­graphic suite, the store con­cept, its visual mer­chan­dis­ing, uni­forms, menus, pack­ag­ing, and ser­vice style. To bring in the best cui­sine, JHP re­searched Lon­don’s port­fo­lio of top chefs and brought in Mick­ael Weiss to de­velop the all-day menu, fly­ing him out to train SPC’s award win­ning team of ex­ec­u­tive chefs. Ac­cord­ing to Austin McGin­ley, Head of Mar­ket­ing, JHP, “The ini­tial busi­ness ob­jec­tive was to de­velop a brand new for­mat for a coun­try ( South Korea) where there is no equiv­a­lent of a ‘tea-room’. But it was also to take the no­tion fur­ther, to con­ceive a brand new ex­pe­ri­ence that brought to­gether the worlds of ‘food’ and ‘fash­ion’ in a suitably up­mar­ket en­vi­ron­ment.” The Par­lour op­er­ates as a light cof­fee stop in the morn­ing, a des­ti­na­tion for lunch, serves canapés and cakes dur­ing the af­ter­noon tea slot, and cul­mi­nates in a venue for cham­pagne, cock­tails and desserts at night. The ul­ti­mate de­sign brief was to cre­ate ‘the bite-size bou­tique’, a very grand and lux­u­ri­ous space which will be the new des­ti­na­tion for the well-heeled ladies of Seoul to visit. “As part of our work, we de­vel­oped four corner­stone val­ues upon which to de­sign the con­cept. They were ‘in­dul­gence’, ‘fem­i­nine’, ‘artis­tic’ and ‘lux­ury’. Ev­ery­thing about our work on the brand iden­tity, the in­te­rior and the ex­pe­ri­ence was to im­part the of­fer with a time­less el­e­gance, and have it steeped in fem­i­nin­ity, au­then­tic­ity and qual­ity,” Austin ex­plains. Spread over 500sqm, The Par­lour is set at the base­ment of SPC Cor­po­ra­tion’s HQ with its en­trance from the street down a flight of stairs through an invit­ing de­sign fea­ture.

Speak­ing more about the en­trance, Austin

says, “The ma­jor chal­lenge was to drive foot­fall from the street, so we re­con­fig­ured the stair­case and made the en­trance thresh­old as at­trac­tive and invit­ing as pos­si­ble. This was achieved by cre­at­ing a glam­orous stair­case, el­e­gantly il­lu­mi­nated right down to the store­front, with a beau­ti­ful ex­te­rior chan­de­lier light fea­ture over­head.” The store fa­cade has im­pos­ing glazed back open win­dows on all lev­els that draw at­ten­tion to the store front. The store front has a re­volv­ing door and an il­lu­mi­nated LED sign to brand the des­ti­na­tion as ‘The Par­lour’. The ex­pe­ri­ence starts from the res­tau­rant en­trance with cus­tomers’ coats be­ing taken. The in­te­rior is de­signed around dif­fer­ent con­cept con­fig­u­ra­tions to ac­com­mo­date dif­fer­ent guest needs. “The spa­ces and seat­ing ar­range­ments are de­fined by the cus­tomer’s mis­sion. For grab and go, they can be served at the coun­ters, or al­ter­na­tively they can choose to dine by the ban­quette seat­ing at the perime­ter, or in the heart of the res­tau­rant at the raised ban­quette, or dwell longer seated at more re­laxed café style seat­ing or in the in­ti­mate snug,” Austin ex­plains. The res­tau­rant’s in­te­ri­ors spell lux­ury and fash­ion with ren­di­tions of el­e­gant de­sign el­e­ments in glossy fin­ishes. A spec­tac­u­lar be­spoke glass chan­de­lier with a con­trast­ing sil­ver leaf back­drop max­imises its im­pact from the ceil­ing. An en­vi­ron­ment cre­ated with white mar­ble floor­ing and white walls help con­trast high­lights on the ceil­ing, wall and floor­ing with the use of ob­jects d’art, pat­terned wall­pa­per, hand blown glass pen­dant lamps and tim­ber floor­ing. “JHP de­signed coun­ters in the form of tra­di­tional French ‘coun­try tables’, clad in white mar­ble tops. All fur­ni­ture was sourced from Europe, with a truly eclec­tic mix of tra­di­tion­ally up­hol­stered tim­ber frame fur­ni­ture and mod­ern pieces. JHP also spec­i­fied an acous­tic ceil­ing to be in­stalled throughout the store to en­sure a de­gree of in­ti­macy for con­ver­sa­tions and to re­duce the im­pact from some of the harder fin­ishes. The use of drapes, rugs and dec­o­ra­tive cush­ions also help to soften the ex­pe­ri­ence,” says Austin. The food is served on fine bone china in a beau­ti­fully set ta­ble where the de­sign­ers put to­gether pe­riod fur­ni­ture, crock­ery, art­work, fash­ion books and mag­a­zines with great at­ten­tion to de­tail. Clas­sic el­e­ments such as cake trol­leys, sil­ver tea pots, dessert trays, fash­ion pho­tog­ra­phy and il­lus­tra­tions adorn and help com­plete the Par­lour’s rooms and pub­lic spa­ces with great de­sign con­vic­tion.

The lighting con­cept plays a very sig­nif­i­cant role in adding drama and op­u­lence. A com­bi­na­tion of con­cealed cove am­bi­ent lighting, ac­cented art lighting from arty fix­tures and edge lighting from con­cealed lighting help cre­ate a dra­matic pre­sen­ta­tion of the store.

Speak­ing about the din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence of­fered at The Par­lour, Austin ex­plains that the ser­vice

style is akin to a ‘Maitre d’ ser­vice. “The res­tau­rant’s staff is highly knowl­edge­able of the menu and due to the res­tau­rant’s ‘fash­ion’ cre­den­tials, are dressed with flair, panache and ooze class.” With great feed­back on the qual­ity of the food, the ser­vice and the in­te­rior ex­pe­ri­ence, The Par­lour has gained lots of cov­er­age in the Asian press and me­dia. “The en­tire ex­pe­ri­ence of The Par­lour is based around fash­ion. Cre­at­ing ex­tra­or­di­nary food is what SPC Group ex­cels at so bring­ing these two el­e­ments to­gether was very ex­cit­ing prospect for us. Since open­ing we have seen the store be­ing used for new fash­ion and prod­uct launches, as a glam­orous meet­ing venue, or for night caps. And that is ex­actly what we set out to achieve,” stated JHP

Manag­ing Di­rec­tor Steve Col­lis. The Par­lour, in­ter­est­ingly for SPC Group who runs thou­sands of restau­rants across Asia, is not for roll-out and the con­cept is de­signed so that it could be re­peated in the world's most fash­ion­able cities

The use of drapes, rugs and dec­o­ra­tive cush­ions also help to soften the ex­pe­ri­ence 43

The res­tau­rant’s in­te­ri­ors spell lux­ury and fash­ion with ren­di­tions of el­e­gant de­sign el­e­ments in glossy fin­ishes

A com­bi­na­tion of con­cealed cove am­bi­ent lighting, ac­cented art lighting from arty fix­tures

44 and edge lighting from con­cealed lighting help cre­ate a dra­matic pre­sen­ta­tion of the store

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