Sugar and spice with Solus

Solus, tile supplier to the architectural and specification market, has helped to bring a richly considered and timeless design to a new London eatery with the use of its floor and wall tiles.

Gunpowder, located on Tower Bridge, is a modern diner specialising in traditional Indian food with a twist. The two-floor space serves the finest Indian cuisine upstairs, while the downstairs area of the restaurant is an informal bakery offering Indian pastries and beverages.

The contemporary restaurant was designed by Block 1: Design who worked with Solus to explore the very best tile ranges to create a standout design throughout the two-storey restaurant. These include a custom arrangement from the Program range in the bathrooms, as well as featuring two colours from the iconic Terrazzo range in the centre of the bakery. In the dining area, many of the walls were brought to life with the beautiful gloss tiles from the rustically textured Arcadian range. These long and thin 65 by 200mm tiles were laid in a uniform, vertical style, perfectly conveying the cohesive yet characterful tone of the restaurant.

In addition, the designers also used concrete effect floor tiles from the Foundry range throughout the space, and completed the eclectic design with a bespoke, fabricated zig-zag design in the booth seating areas.

Justin Melican, Director at Block 1: Design, commented: “We wanted to create a space that reflected the traditional raw materials and colour palettes of India. Our brief was to create two spaces, one being an informal bakery offering Indian pastries and coffee, and the second was to be the main dining area, which would continue to the upstairs mezzanine.”

“Having a two-floor space that is a bakery by day and transitions to a restaurant in the evening, it was important that each area reflected its own identity, but still felt like one cohesive space. We achieved this aesthetic through a creative selection of materials, colour and texture. By utilising not only polished terrazzo floors from the Terrazzo range, but also raw blackened steel, concrete and bespoke custom designed tiles, we were able to implement a design that is a contemporary interpretation of India that reflects the warmth of traditional design without recreating it.”

A design trend that is making a comeback is terrazzo. A complex composite stone, terrazzo displays a wide range of marble and quartz flecks and speckles, engineered by binding together crushed stone using strong adhesives. Layered in a tile format, the polished terrazzo provides a smooth, sleek finish bringing a touch of elegance to large commercial areas with a heavy footfall.

“Texture and layers play an important role throughout the space,” continues Melican. “By mismatching the reclaimed antique English marble fireplace pieces in both size and depth we were able to create a unique textured wall, bringing warmth to the bakery. The bush hammered concrete of the front face of the bakery counter contrasts with the polished black concrete top and gives the bakery a distinctly different feel to the more raw feeling of Gunpowder.”

“Gunpowder is characterised by raw steel, polished concrete, marble and zinc. Latticed rebar forms the front face of the bar creating texture and depth which contrasts with the teak wood and glass panels surrounding the booths. Zinc and wooden table tops soften the space while the steel and polished concrete stairs visually link the two floors. Blackened steel poles create a corridor to the first floor and carry along the setback mezzanine. The visibility to the ground floor and outside allows diners on the mezzanine to feel part of the overall experience.”

“Working with Solus allowed us to push our design concepts further and bring the whole project to life, we wanted to create an aesthetic that would be timeless but still traditional and this is exactly what we have embodied with the tiles chosen,” concludes Melican. “We very much look forward to working with the team again on future designs.”

Solus Area Sales Manager, John Rose, says: “Working on the project at Gunpowder has been incredible, the use of the customised tile range and bespoke cut tiles was a fantastic way to bring in the designers creativity and completely transform an area of the restaurant. The space has abundant character that is perfectly inline with the brief set out by the client.”

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