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Klosterhaus, Bristol

DesignLSM transform an 18th century Quakers Friars building into a spectacular restaurant destination 

DesignLSM introduce their latest interior and branding work for D&D London as part of a new wave of exciting hospitality projects that the studio is currently undertaking. Located in Bristol’s Cabot Circus, within a historic Grade 1 listed Quakers Friars building, Klosterhaus is a new sister restaurant to the iconic German Gymnasium in London composing of a ground floor and gallery restaurant, bar, event spaces and outdoor terrace.  

The Narrative

The acclaimed design studio (behind D&D projects Issho, 20 Stories and the new design of Paternoster Chophouse, which is relocating this year.) were commissioned to create a luxurious all-day dining destination that infuses the building’s spectacular heritage with a sleek and contemporary design.

DesignLSM’s vision for the space was inspired by the curious origins of the listed building which was originally built as a Quakers meeting house in 1747. From the outset of the project, the designers immersed themselves into the historic roots and fabric of the building, exploring ideas around the neo-classical architecture, a movement known as ‘Klassizismus’ in Germany that idealises simplicity and clarity over adornment.     

“It was very important to us that we respected the DNA of the building and were extremely sensitive when unifying together the original architecture with a contemporary design approach. We wanted to ensure that our design celebrated the building’s dramatic splendour by taking influence from the distinctive lines and shapes of the architecture. We developed the narrative around this whilst also encapsulating the vibrant sprit of the European-mittel café scene alongside the subtle references to Bristol’s rich history.” said Tom Munson, Senior Designer, DesignLSM

The Design

The show-stopping cocktail bar is a key focal point of the ground floor space drawing guests in with its elegance and grandeur. An imposing metal fretwork staircase adds to the drama, exquisitely framing the bar with illuminated wine walls and decorative pendant lighting that is emphasised by bespoke arched metal work screens. The design purposefully positions seating around the bar providing a nod to the building’s historical roots as a meeting place.

A confident palette of cladded brass, warm timbers, stone and velvet upholstery adorned in rich tones of terracotta and deep greens has been adopted to enhance and complement the original period features.

DesignLSM worked closely with Studio2c art consultancy to curate a bespoke selection of artwork that playfully depicts the fictional characters behind the Klosterhaus concept. Drawing inspiration from the Bristol-Hannover connection the pieces play on Bristol’s industrial past, inventively mixing earthy toned imagery with the rich colours of Renaissance Old Masters portraits.

A medley of intimate and social dining spaces has also been designed to accommodate D&D’s multi-purpose events programme comprising of Cutlers Hall, Bakers Hall, Private Dining Room and the Sunken Terrace. The outdoor terrace plays host to a lively bar and grill area dressed with abundant lush planting and terracotta pots giving guests a relaxing space to enjoy with views across the Piazza.  

DesignLSM were also asked to devise and develop the brand for Klosterhaus – taking their influence from the historic narrative and simplistic beauty of the building to create a visual identity that reflects the key architectural lightwell within the centre of the building. Developing a series of elegant and contemporary icons that also pays homage to the notion of the meeting house and people coming together – crafting a flexible visual language this unique to Klosterhaus.

The Results

The overall design sets bold features and luxurious finishes against a classical, simple backdrop, creating strong visual drama that gives way to a lively and glamorous Grand Café ambience. The designers have successfully crafted a sophisticated and glamorous interior that brings the meeting house back to life showcasing the luxury hospitality experience that the D&D brand is famed for.

“This project has been a real joy to work on. It is always a pleasure to collaborate with D&D and we have enjoyed researching and curating a design narrative that pays homage to the origins of the building and its locality – creating an exceptional space within an impressive historic monument.” commented Tom Munson, Senior Designer, DesignLSM

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