A few weeks ago I was invited along to a whiskey tasting evening at a new bar in Mayfair called Smith & Whistle. While I do enjoy whiskey, you know that my first passion is interior design and I was curious to see how a luxury hotel in Mayfair redesigns it’s bar to attract patrons. There are a lot of bars in Mayfair, so it’s the service and design that will determine it’s success.
Modernity, Luxury and Mayfair Glamour?
Being part of the Park Lane Hotel, which is an art deco gem, I expected Smith & Whistle to respect the surrounding building’s architecture and decor features, but also inject a little modernity, luxury and Mayfair glamour into the design.
On approach you are greeted with the large Smith & Whistle sign in a copper colour which sets the tone for the colour palette beyond the doors. The bar in the middle of the space greets you as you enter, the texture and pattern of the wood underneath the bar, the chevron monochrome wooden flooring are immediate features that pop out at you. There is seating on both the right and left of the bar.
On turning left or right, you are faced with an Art Deco inspired sunburst that covers both the right and left walls of the bar.
The Design is in the Detail
You may be wondering why I’ve titled this post, The Design is in the Detail at Smith & Whistle? Well it’s because there is a lot of detail here, some of it not even visible. This is design that’s considered, design that tells a story, design that has a history, let me explain.
Smith & Whistle takes its name from the 1920’s duo, Detective Inspector Smith and socialite scoundrel Mr. Whistle; sworn enemies who would call an occasional truce to meet at the bar and swap secrets from either side of the law.
The two large sunbursts are made from copper piping. These pipes are one of the most ‘luxe’ upcycling projects that I’ve seen. Starting life on the upper floors of the Park Lane Hotel which is currently undergoing a renovation. These copper pipes are part of the fabric of the building, and thousands of guests have benefitted from them. I love that this material has been reused and made into such an important design feature of the new bar.
The detail under the bar counter is incredible, I knew immediately that this was Giles Miller at work. The texture that this adds to the bar helps to balance the smooth shiny copper piping and hard chevron flooring. It softens the look of the bar and works really well.
What can we learn from the design at Smith & Whistle?
Three things immediately come to mind here:
- Details matter, think about your home and where you can add more detail. Alter the texture of a surface, just a subtle change can make an enormous difference.
- Upcycle. Smith & Whistle have one of the most luxe upcycling projects I’ve ever seen. Put your thinking cap on and think of ways to upcycle some of your items.
- Attach a story to your design. The upcycling project, the name Smith & Whistle and the fact that the bar is attached to an art deco building all help to create a unique story for the bar. Think about your home, where is it, when was it built, what pieces do you have inside it, how about your personal story. Use your space to tell your story.
A local bar
Smith & Whistle is trying to position itself as a local bar for Mayfair residents and local businessmen. I would certainly be very happy if this was my ‘local’ bar.
Great design is something that you explore over time, and you’d need a few visit to Smith & Whistle to appreciate the great design in this bar.
It’s worth a visit, and the cocktails are pretty awesome too!
Smith & Whistle, located at the Park Lane Hotel, Piccadilly, London.