When SHH Architects and Interior Designers began collaborating with Levy Restaurants for the re-design of the bakery and brasserie restaurant at the Ricoh Arena - the home base of the Premiership Rugby team, Wasps, as well as the Coventry City Football Club, a venue which is also used for state-of-the-art events since it opened in 2005 - they had but one idea in mind. “The modern take on the handcrafted theme," as Neil Hogan, Creative Director and Founder of SHH said. This idea translated into embracing and reflecting the surrounding area, that being Coventry, the West Midland borough of England that boasts a strong local industry and manufacturing background.
Since "handcrafted" was the chosen design theme, artisanal food and a hands-on approach to design were deemed as being in order to create an inviting spot for guests seeking "anything from a great cup of coffee to a delicious sit-down meal," as the designer's brief claims.
To that effect, guests are greeted by an array of lush potted plants overflowing from the hanging galvanized steel buckets and from the white laminated, oak planter boxes that surround the new "outdoor" terrace at the front of the bakery area. This new spot, which has become a welcoming area of communion that patrons are naturally drawn to, also hosts an old-style butcher bicycle painted a crisp, shiny black lacquer proudly displaying the signage, The Mill, further orientating people into the handcrafted storyline of the space as they sit at one of the white marble topped tables, black Norman Copenhagen knot chairs or at the surrounding European oak banquet seating underneath the hanging terracotta pendant lamps.
Inside the Brasserie, the same modern take on a home-made ambiance prevails, with white herringbone tiles sheathing the walls and wrapping around the bar. The white porcelain floor tiles, beveled mirror wall paneling and "wasabi green" granite bar top, all add further touches of a spotless character - all of which also lend a hand at inviting in guests from the adjoining Double Tree by Hilton hotel.
Meanwhile, history is utilized as art with inventive displays of old timber factory moldings that once-upon-a-time were used to cast metal, as well as dark green picture rails which surround the bakery and brasserie's perimeter, displaying black and white, archival photographs of Coventry's industrial history. The black tiles that dramatically cap the ceiling end the décor from the ground up with a strong statement.
Probably the strongest testament to the truth behind this "local" and "artisanal" approach to the décor's design is the fact that it was all accomplished using the skills of local craftsmen from The Ideal Group as well as Lol Summers, both of which were sourced by SHH. To note, these same craftsmen and women make it a habit of regularly attending matches at the Ricoh Arena.
All in all, The Mill's new tagline "Blended, Crafted and Baked… at The Mill," truly describes the local-based ethos, sensibilities and pageantry at work behind this sleek update. After all, one must root for the home team!