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Fran Hickman is an interior and architectural design studio founded in 2014 by the designer with the same namesake. The studio’s work is underpinned y a clear understanding of the critical role that build environments have in daily life. Form follows function never forgetting the senses.
With this in mind, Fran Hickman wanted to design Chess Club as a way to break away from the traditional design and concept of a typical Mayfair club. The aim is to nurture young talent and an entrepreneurial spirit by offering unique and characterful spaces for guests to enjoy with likeminded individuals.
Interior Designer Fran Hickman was given the task of creating unique spaces for the club and has drawn her inspiration from the concept of a modern-day salon, celebrating the townhouse’s original Georgian features whilst marrying them with the finest of contemporary design.
The ground floor restaurant is light and airy, dressed with warm golden tones. Hundreds of framed butterfly prints clad the walls, injecting a range of vibrant colours into the room, reflected by the choice of vibrant yellow and rich blue upholstery. The lower half of the walls have been panelled with a geometric marquetry style pattern, creating a busy exterior that is tamed by the clean lines and simple layout of the room within.
The townhouse’s original large windows and side panelling remains untouched allowing natural light to fill the restaurant. In contrast to the white original features are black pendant lighting, metalwork and candlesticks that create a definitive line between old and new.
The first floor contains a bar and lounge where guests will witness a clash of enchanting styles. To one side, visitors can relax in a secluded seating area that contains oversized mural artwork panels depicting tropical flowers, insects and snakes interweaving between the foliage. The tufted booth seating has been upholstered in a beautiful burnt orange fabric and the stools in contrasting vivid green, split by hexagon cocktail tables, the perfect size to play chess on.
Taking vintage glamour to impressive levels, the bar itself is set against a mirrored wall, framing and reflecting the vast array of spirits available. Curving round towards the large window is a series of brass 1970’s style pendant lights that run in parallel to upholstered barstools below.
The bar creates its own intimate setting and a private audience for the Mixologist as they mix and pour mesmerising cocktail creations. The surrounding walls have been painted in a soft powdered blue, set against the pink tones of the carpet and large central sofa.
This soft colour palette creates an air of tranquillity which allows visitors to feel relaxed and at ease during their stay. Small accessories such as candlesticks, miniature busts and ornaments have been placed on the mantlepiece and surrounding surfaces which also creates a home away from home feel to the design.
The Chess Club challenges perceptions and goes against the grain in an area of London steeped in tradition. It is this careful balancing act between the appreciation of original design and the passion to evolve that makes this place so special, creating a new breed of members clubs that are sure to have an impact on the London scene.
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