Stunning interior design was celebrated the 2022 Restaurant & Bar Design Awards, with 1111 ONES, Mo and The Painter’s Room among the winners
For the last 14 years, the Restaurant and Bar Design Awards have been celebrating the world’s most creative spaces and the people behind them, and the 2022 edition was no exception. Judged by a panel of some of the most influential personalities in design, hospitality and lifestyle globally, this year’s awards attracted 1,220 entries from 66 countries – though there could only be five overall winners. From futuristic bakeries to art deco-inspired watering holes, the decor at these top-class eateries is being talked about around the world.
Taking home the gongs for both best Asia restaurant and, most impressively, the overall restaurant winner, Hong Kong’s 1111 ONES combines the finest local produce with the flair of landscape photography, all under one stunningly stylish roof. Brainchild of designer Myron Kwan, founder of M.R. Studio, who previously trained under Joyce Wang and AB Concept, the interiors at 1111 ONES take inspiration from the water-carved passages of Arizona’s Instagram-famous Antelope Canyon, with a distinctive arched doorway that welcomes diners into a 2,400-square-foot open space mimicking the flowing volumes and burnt sienna hues of the natural rock formation.
“The interior results in a placid place, reminiscent of the ravishing and tranquil environs of Antelope Canyon,” Kwan tells Effect. “It was an intriguing collaboration with aspiring talents in which we were encouraged to challenge conventional way of thinking.”
Once inside, you’ll encounter the main dining bar which borders the open kitchen. All copper accents, white marble surfaces and muted textured upholstery that further echo the canyon’s aesthetic, this surreal dining space seems unconstrained by conventionalism in both interiors and food – Chef Will Leung champions local ingredients in his dishes, which take visual cues from a series of landscape photographs by award-winning lensman Kelvin Yuen. “The creativity, forms and movement in such a small space are thoughtful and well executed. It is an amazing space,” says Eileen Madigan, judge and SVP of Global Interior Design at Las Vegas Sands Corp.
With its playful yet welcoming design palette, use of rich, earthy materials and well-thought-out mood lighting, it’s no surprise the Melbourne-based Curious was named both best overall bar winner and best Australia/Pacific bar at this year’s awards. Crafted under the creative direction of Hachem, which prides itself on its passion for designing interiors that emphasise a human connection, senses are heightened as soon as patrons step into the eclectic bar thanks to the Corian entry, which appears to show the wall peeling back, revealing a cocoon-like room with timber ceiling beams engineered in a striking parametric sequence.
Having previously been awarded the world’s best ceiling at the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards, Curious is no stranger to the limelight. Timber beams are secured to the ceiling in a parametric sequence, each enhanced with strategically placed LED lighting, while a mirror at the end makes the room appear never-ending. “Curious invites guests to lose themselves in a fantasy world. Located underground, it’s a playful but sophisticated space that provokes a sense of wonder and discovery,” Fady Hachem, founder of Hachem tells Effect. “Once inside, visitors are enveloped in the room’s cocoon-like design, formed from timber beams in a parametric sequence, before being taken on a marvellous journey that feels like an odyssey into a new dimension. Deep colour tones, plush seating and recessed lighting complete the experience.”
Located underground at the W Melbourne, its impressive cocktail of engineering and interior design creates a bold and beautiful watering hole in keeping with the trendy hotel it inhabits. “It’s impossible for us to express just how delighted we are that our work at Curious has been honoured on the world stage. This was a challenging assignment and it’s a tribute to the skill of our design team that we were able to create a successful result for our client,” adds Hachem.
The Painter’s Room
When legendary Mayfair hotel Claridge’s opened The Painter’s Room in 2021, it quickly gained a reputation as London’s most exclusive drinking den thanks to its intimate covers of just 24 and ground-breaking cocktail list courtesy of director of mixology Nathan McCarley O’Neill. That doesn’t mean its interiors have gone unnoticed though – this art deco hideaway, reimagined by interior designer Bryan O’Sullivan, who was tasked with restoring the bar that had fallen into a state of disuse, was the winner of the best design bar in Europe at this year’s awards.
“It was a space that captured our imaginations and we loved seeing it transform from a narrow storage room into a delicate, intimate, romantic cocktail bar,” O’Sullivan tells Effect. “As you step in from the monochrome Claridge’s corridor, there’s a shift in mood and it feels like you’re stepping into a jewellery box. We really wanted to celebrate the hotel’s history and iconic design, and put our own twist on it.”
A blush-coloured cocktail bar conceived around a playful Annie Morris mural (nodding to the doodles people tend to leave behind on cocktail napkins) and inspired by the art deco period of Claridge’s, The Painter’s Room is a fantastical destination full of character. O’Sullivan also commissioned Morris to construct her first-ever stained glass piece – a watercolour-like scene that infuses the room with bold jewel tones. Equally impressive, a rich pink-onyx stone bar from Iran takes centre stage, sitting below a bespoke gantry, while behind it, carved niches house a huge array of spirits on wavy custom glass shelves. From the huge chandelier that hangs from a blush-coloured dome to arched lighting fixtures, all of the furniture was custom-designed for the project.
The latest project from Masquespacio – and winner of the best Middle East & Africa restaurant award – Mo is a surrealist space elevating bakery designs to whole new heights. Located in Saudi Arabia’s Kohbar, founders Omar and Asim reached out to the Valencia-based studio with a brief to create a space that was out of this world, and that they did, with everything from a waterfall-like structure suspended above the bar where baked goods are displayed; a futuristic series of frosted pipe-like lamps suspended from the ceiling; a greyscale colour palette with silver and metallic finishes; and a fully-mirrored ceiling and diagonal metallic griddled windows on the façade. “It was clear from the beginning that Omar and Asim were ready to challenge us, and we were ready to challenge them,” says Christophe Penasse, co-founder of Masquespacio.
As to be expected with such a creative project, all furniture was crafted bespoke for Mo, with controllable RGB LED lighting incorporated to add colour and change the mood of the space when suits. All of these point to the key underlying theme of water in its three states – liquid, solid, and gas – on which the whole creative direction is based. Unique in its design language, and a far cry from the bright spaces we are so used to from Masquespacio, this could be one of the studio’s most daring projects yet.
Last but certainly not least, Imperfecto in Washington DC was named the most beautiful Americas restaurant which, spearheaded by Greek-Swedish studio OOAK Architects and drawing inspiration from the Mediterranean with its elegant and modern design, is a treat for both the eyes and the tastebuds. “Our goal with the interior of Imperfecto was to create a contemporary yet classic atmosphere that would strengthen the extraordinary culinary experience,” Maria Papafigou, architect and founding partner of OOAK tells Effect. “We are so proud of everyone who made this project a reality.”
All marble, wood and brass, this upscale eatery was also designed with input from photographer and art director Yiorgos Kordakis, and together, the team implemented a stylish blue-and-white colour scheme paired with neutral tones. In each of the three spaces (Imperfecto is divided up into a bar, main dining room and chef’s table), white walls and partitions have varying textures that reflect light in different ways.
Taking furniture design up a level, OOAK fitted each room with custom pieces and select designs from leading names such as Verpan and Marset, crafted from authentic materials including Greek and Italian marbles, brass and wood from different parts of the world. On entering, for example, guests will immediately come across a maître d stand made from burl wood and handmade ceramic pieces by artist Melina Xenaki, which sits alongside a crisp white marble bar lined with crimson bar stools. A statement abstract mural-photograph of a Greek quarry by Kordakis lines the wall behind, while a chef’s table area fitted with a communal table made of elm, leather-backed chairs and back wall covered with a zigzag-patterned screen made from terracotta tile are other particular design highlights.