Block, Paper, Bizarres

A rock, paper, scissors for Interiors where you decide the rules….

I know it’s the festival here in Edinburgh but I am not going to write about that because if you’re in the city you will be all too painfully aware that it’s on, and if you are further afield it’s entirely irrelevant and me banging on about it would be like that one friend who went to a music festival or gig once and won’t shut up about how great (or shite) it was.

So last month I met the wonderful Victoria of Victoria Hopkins Interiors who got me on board to do some custom artwork for a new street food restaurant in the Westend of Edinburgh. From the minute I walked into the then still largely building site for our first meeting, I couldn’t help but smile. The vibrancy and hues of the colours all around were like the sun had come out, mentally transporting me to an entirely different place. I knew whoever created this and I were going to get on like a house on fire!

The genius here is not just the choice of colours; it’s the clever distribution of colour blocks that really adds the fun part without being fussy or cutesy. Expert paint execution by the dab hands of Umber and Ochre . Did I mention that coral staircase has an ombré effect ?!

If you hadn’t noticed, Edinburgh doesn’t do fun interiors a lot. What Edinburgh does a lot is luxury, somewhat blingy, a bit over-designed establishments, or the other extreme – bland cookie-cutter hipster joints. Then maybe that’s just my harsh and not so humble opinion! Doesn’t matter because we’re not talking about any of those places!

The place we are talking about is of course called Tommy’s. Tommy’s Banglacafe to be precise. What’s a Banglacafe then? The owners of the place wanted to convey their passion for the food from their native Bangladesh, while also keeping the tone and overall environment casual and bit playful; while never compromising on first class service and food quality. All that led to:

Playful and passionate about Bangladeshi food and culture: Tommy’s

Obviously they had me at “big cat in the logo”! Victoria also did the overall branding here. A lady of many talents! Now this is where I come in with my bit of custom art for the place. The brief was to reference the colours within the space, draw on elements of Bangladeshi and Edinburgh architecture, while also drawing on the owners family’s long standing history within the Edinburgh restaurant and hospitality scene. All of this along with on the spot changes from on site consultations led to this:

Mixed media custom wall art

Obviously the (bengal) tiger had to feature heavily! If you watched the time lapse on my Insta you will know that not everything on here is hand painted but a mixed media assemblage featuring the iconically pale pink Ahsan Manzil palace morphing into a vintage photo of South Charlotte Street (where Tommy’s is located of course). This part was digitally collaged first, then printed on canvas and glued in. The black and white images are old blown up newspaper clippings and an old menu design of a previous restaurant the family owned. The tropical foliage and faint repeat patterns are all hand painted, taking inspiration from one of the original brightly coloured rickshaws inside the place.

Overall lushness is real

To say I enjoyed the project is of course an understatement. I love seeing places being a bit adventurous in their colour choice and clever application thereof. Colour blocking in particular is starting to have a massive moment in private as well as commercial interiors and I couldn’t be more excited about it! In fact I cannot wait to implement some of it myself in the new flat. Yes of course my man and i bought a flat together. Excitement levels are through the roof because the possibilities are of course endless….and suddenly I realise that things I always thought I liked the look of, I could never imagine sharing a flat with. Hence Block, Paper, Bizarre…. colourBlocks win over all else, while wallpaper is out surprisingly. I always thought I would enjoy at least one sumptuous, eccentric all round papered and patterned room only to realise just the thought of living with a repeat pattern is making me anxious and uncomfortable! And all of a sudden more and more details keep creeping up. Things I enjoy looking at on Insta, do in fact bear surprising few parallels to what I would like to surround myself with in real life. Am I the only one or have you suffered similar conundrums Moving into new homes?

Any which way, you know what’s on the cards for my next instalment: Interior spam! Until then….stay dry and….

Stare At Art Not Walls
Stare at art, not walls

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