Thursday, 19 February 2015

Minster's Amazing People Space

Have you ever wondered what would happen if a group of people wanted to create a retail and food space associated with an important Minster that would appeal to the whole population? Well wonder no more!

The management team at Southwell Minster approached us to design the interior spaces for the re-development of their Cathedral Bookshop and the Refectory (a cafe run by an independent management team).

The original 1990s interiors featured orange stained wood, fussy layouts and problems with echoing acoustics. The two spaces had small separate entrances divided by an unwelcoming corridor.

Our remit was to design an interior that cross-fertilised Shop & Refectory sales; ensuring a reference to a Christian offering, whilst appealing to all visitors.

We created a design with no internal walls to erase the unwelcoming corridor and integrate the two interior spaces. 

A subtle background palette of greys was used to calm the interior, juxtaposed by brightly coloured lights, shelving and sound sculptures to create visual excitement amongst an air of tranquillity.

Backwash and suspended lights were used to brighten the areas whilst optically lowering the ceilings.

Hardwearing Karndean Aged Oak flooring was laid throughout to cement the feeling of one space, create a contemporary look and soften acoustics.

Bespoke fitments for the Bookshop created visual interest with the colour chosen to heighten the impact of the colours of book spines. Focussing displays around the edges with one distinct central unit enhanced disabled access. A bird’s eye view of the central display area reveals it to be an abstract cross: a theme also used in the shelving on the slat wall.

Counter space in the Refectory was extended and chilled counter display cabinets removed to lessen barriers to the public and promote the feeling of fresh food offering.

Banquette seating in the Refectory was designed to reflect the pews of the Minster. Sound sculptures on the ceiling overcome acoustic issues and mirror the abstract cross design of the retail central unit.

The Refectory designs played to its location USP by including trompe l’oeil features such as an old architectural plan and specials boards incorporating the Minster Towers.

The venue has been warmly received by a forward thinking management team and is proving an excellent commercial environment.