Case Study: Monty’s Deli, Hoxton, London 2017

KEY DATA:

Begun (design work): 20 September 2016
Begun (construction): 09 January 2017
Completed:10 April 2017
Floor Area: 224m2
Total Cost (construction): £367,000 / £1,638 per m2

 © Joe Woodhouse

© Joe Woodhouse

We were appointed by Monty’s Deli Ltd in late September 2016 to design their first permanent restaurant, to be located in an old East end bakery on Hoxton Street. Monty’s had just exchanged on the lease and had 2 months until completion. A rent free period of 4 months was agreed, starting from completion of the contract. This gave us 6 months (with Christmas in between) to design, tender the works competitively and complete construction and fit out.

BRIEF

Our client wanted a place inspired by the classic old workers cafés of London – a restaurant typology that is now, sadly, close to extinction.

For us, the challenge was to revive this look and feel without the end result becoming pastiche, a Disneyland copy. It had to be a contemporary interpretation of the workers cafe.

In our first site visits with the client it was apparent that the 220sq.m bakery had a story to tell. We glimpsed traces and hints of the building’s past and history under layers of more recent building work. We learnt that prior to the 40-year-old bakery, the space had been home to well known Victorian butchers, Robert Gunners. Their RG insignia tiles were covered over in layers of paint and, in many places, entirely concealed behind stud walls.

From early on we found common ground with our client, part of the attraction I think. We both recognize the worth in exposing original building fabric and historic features that help to uncover the building’s narrative and, ultimately, add character to the finished scheme. We agreed that the design should strike a balance between conservation of historic fabric, juxtaposed with contemporary fit out elements.

PROCESS

The initial design period is always a messy one involving moves on multiple fronts. The main areas we focused on initially were:

Site investigations to determine extent of recoverable historic fabric. This was limited by the fact that, during the design period, the lease was not yet completed and the landlord/ bakery was still in occupation.
Research into London workers cafés; visiting some of the remaining ones coupled with desktop research.
Ongoing conversations with our client to help formulate the brief; including aesthetic preferences, functional requirements, programmatic, budgetary and other constraints.

Our first ‘work in progress’ meeting with the client yielded a number of layout options that we explored, as always, in both 2D and 3D. This meeting ended with an agreement on the preferred layout.

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A number of ‘work in progress’ meetings followed over the course of the next 6 weeks in which the design was critiqued and refined a number of times. The following images, produced for client presentations, tell some of that story:

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Our role included that of Lead Consultant, coordinating the work of the design team; mechanical & electrical consultant and structural engineer to ensure that all elements of the design were fully coordinated and compatible.

We also assumed the role of Project Manager, preparing the project programme and disseminating this to the design team with key targets.

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Project programme for Monty's Deli

 

Four weeks from start of work and following two work in progress meetings, we presented our Concept Design to the client.

The front of house restaurant design acts as a foil to the existing, historic building fabric. Our contemporary design and intervention in the space is largely limited to a ribbon wrapping around the perimeter. The ribbon begins at roughly 35cm above finished floor level, coinciding with the underside of booth seating, and stops at 115cm above finished floor level, coinciding with the top of the booth/ datum cladding and bar. Everything above and below these levels is historic fabric.

The images below are from that presentation.

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Following client sign off on Concept Design we had just over 4 weeks to develop all elements of the design in sufficient detail to enable a competitive tender of the works. During that time we also worked to identify a longlist of suitable contractors for the job.

The following is a small selection of detail/ technical drawings of fit out elements that formed part of the Tender Pack together with a Schedule of Works, prepared by us.

We tendered the works competitively to 5 contractors and obtained 4 qualifying tender returns, all within 10% of one another on price. The top 2 bidders were within 5% of one another and we proceeded to negotiate, on behalf of the client, with both parties.

Savings in the order of 35% were made during the negotiation process, which also involved proposals for value engineering/ cost savings, put forward by the contractors and ourselves. In many instances compromises were made; elements of the design were either simplified or revised in order to meet the challenging budget.

Works on site generally went according to plan other than a single 1 week delay due to the unforeseen foundation depth that resulted in a revised structural design for groundworks and steel propping. The project was delivered on budget.

CLIENT TESTIMONIALS

We chose Dan Marks Studio to help us realise our vision for our restaurant. Right from the start Dan came up with some great ideas and immediately grasped the design and style we wanted to achieve. During the project the team worked tirelessly in all areas of the project, refining the tenders for contract, adjustments due to budget requirements, design and re-design of kitchen , bar, etc..application for planning consent and many more vital tasks that might have been considered beyond their remit but for their commitment to the project. Throughout the whole process a good natured and easy communication was enjoyed by all parties, and I can say wholeheartedly that we are delighted with the result. We now have a beautiful and highly functional restaurant. If you need an architect, then I highly recommend that you choose Dan Marks Studio.
— Mark Ogus, Co-Owner of Monty’s Deli Ltd.
 ©Peter Landers

©Peter Landers

I think Dan Marks nailed the brief for Monty’s Deli. It looks fantastic in there. A really classic, iconic deli look and feel that is pretty much perfect for the restaurant and the surrounding area. The place really comes alive when busy and you can really get a sense for the space and brilliant design. Cannot recommend DMS highly enough…
— Chef Josh Katz, Berber&Q, Investor
 ©Peter Landers

©Peter Landers

The front of house restaurant design acts as a foil to the existing, historic building fabric. Our contemporary design and intervention in the space is largely limited to a ribbon wrapping around the perimeter. The ribbon begins at roughly 35cm above finished floor level, coinciding with the underside of booth seating, and stops at 115cm above finished floor level, coinciding with the top of the booth/ datum cladding and bar. Everything above and below these levels is historic fabric.

It is this juxtaposition of contemporary elements with the retained original features that make the end product warm, soulful and distinct.

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 © Peter Landers

© Peter Landers

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