Project: Milk Beach Soho
Interior Design: A-nrd studio
Location: IIona Rose House, Soho, London W1
Build time: 14 weeks
Area: 220 sqm
Photo credit: Charlie McKay
London based interior design studio A-nrd have completed the design and realisation of Milk Beach Soho, the latest all-day dining and buzzy night-time hotspot from restauranteur Elliot Milne. Located in the new Central London development IIona Rose House, the studio founded by Alessio Nardi and creative partner Lukas Persakovas has created a relaxed Australian beach inspired interior with an elevated aesthetic for the new 150 seat indoor-outdoor all-day restaurant and cocktail bar.
Workshopping creative ideas alongside Milne, A-nrd studio extensively researched Australia’s Milk Beach in Sydney and other Sydney beach eateries and establishments paying particular attention to the local architecture which has strong Art Deco influences as well as an eclectic mix of materials and relaxed interior styling.
Upon entering Milk Beach Soho, guests are taken on a journey into a bright and airy, coastal yet sophisticated environment that evokes thoughts of sandy summer days. A feast for the eyes, the interior is a well-considered mix of layered natural materials, textures, and styles tied together by a tonal palette of modern neutrals.
Grounding the interior is a strikingly elegant Palladiana terrazzo floor. A first for the studio, the floor was laid in-situ with each large piece of tonal marble arranged within the cement mix to achieve a balanced design and an organic natural look reminiscent of walking across rocks by the ocean. Walls are textured with stucco and limewash adding a soft warmth and summertime feel to the expansive space. Informed by Sydney’s seaside architecture, Art Deco detailing can be seen in the utilisation of cut out and relief wall panels. A textured ceiling with oak beams showcases 2-meter-wide pendant lights crafted from bamboo and made bespoke for the project by UK artisan David Barker of Lion Iron Lights.
A large 9 meter long central and curvaceous cocktail bar is a further nod to Art Deco architecture. Purposely lowering the ceiling above the bar space, A-nrd utilised oak slats to create an intimacy to the space and zone the area. Flush Deco-esq ceiling lights dance across the beams whilst a chunky oak countertop full of characterful knots reflects the warmth of the celling and add a coherency to the space. The back bar, a highlight of the space, is a unique layered design which takes its design cues from the Sydney Opera House. Clad with a shimmering mix of glazed off-white tiles alternating between a plain and relief pattern, the textual design element is another example of the studio’s sophisticated understanding and use of materials. Bringing the textured stucco seen on walls to the bar front effortlessly blends the spatial elements together. Natural unglazed Bejmat tiles edge the base of the bar. Timber and rattan bar chairs handcrafted and sourced in Indonesia seat 10.
With theatre in mind, an open kitchen adds a vibrant buzz to the relaxed restaurant’s design and atmosphere. Here A-nrd add visual cohesion with an oak and travertine counter. In the foundation of the interior A-nrd studio and Milne have created a highly original space.
With a layout heavily influenced by the buildings light well, seating has been positioned to view the exterior with a cosy corner booth sitting where the light well narrows. Covers are broken down into intimate tables for two and larger placings for groups of 4, 6 and 8. A signature of the studio, bespoke furniture fills the restaurant space. Hero pieces include bespoke solid travertine tables with sculptural oak legs. Tables are complimented by a rich mix of seating from cognac toned woven leather to natural undyed rattan and solid timber.
Islands of comfortable yet stylish bespoke sofa seating feature chunky oak bases and textured geometric fabrics which echo the overarching beachy aesthetic. A sweeping banquette crafted from slatted oak and upholstered with cream leather and textured cotton fabrics soften the rear corner of the restaurant and visually divide a large expansive wall. Here Japanese paper wall lights by artist Celine Wright provide a delicate and enticing illumination whilst an Abaca fibre pendant from Pinch hangs over the intimate corner seating spot.
Native Australian plants such as two tall Foxtail Palms add character and life across the space and break the tonal material palette whilst artworks by Australian Janey Forbes, and UK based Frankie Throp and Ceicilia Reeve add splashes of vibrant colour to walls.
Outside, an extensive courtyard, something of a rarity in Soho, seats 65. With a façade tiled in a glazed turquoise fish scale, the restaurant stands out from the crowd. A mix of wooden bistro tables and chairs are punctuated with a gentle palette of colourful and soft geometric cushions and throws. Large umbrellas and heating allow guests to enjoy the space whatever the weather.
In Milk Beach Soho A-nrd and Milne have created a space that is atmospherically and texturally rich. Their joint passion for crafted, authentic, contemporary design is clear and can be felt at every touch point. Soho or Sydney? Milk Beach Soho is an Australian oasis in the very heart of London.
On the project, A-nrd founder Alessio Nardi comments:
“We wanted to create a transportive environment with the design concept for Milk Beach Soho. Our love of natural materials and paired back yet warm interiors really shows through in the project. There are no gimmicky beachside/nautical aspects, it’s a successful mix of laid-back authenticity with an elevated sophistication. We have played with tonality and texture throughout the space and used the project as an opportunity to showcase a mix of our own studio’s bespoke furniture design alongside some incredible lighting and contemporary fine artists.”