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Looking back in amber

NEWS aj interiors

Entering Belgo Centraal in London’s Chalk Farm,you plunge below street level. A bridge takes you up and over service areas before depositing you in the restaurant.

And now,at Belgo Jersey,in St Helier, Antarchitecture has exploited an existing change in floor level to create a ‘theatre’, with the kitchen and back ofhouse areas as a proscenium stage overlooking the auditorium ofthe bar/restaurant.The front of house features a display ofBelgo’s star attraction:dozens ofbottles ofBelgian beer in a stainless-steel cage.The theatrical refer-ences are as plentiful here as in earlier branches ofBelgo but the general atmosphere is warmer and less monastic.

Belgo replaces a pizza restaurant on the ground floor ofa two-storey building,which has an established snooker club on the first floor.The architect gutted the space and unified it by wrapping walls and ceiling in a continuous arc ofrustic oak planks,stained to a warm mid-tone brown.Across the ceiling the original rendered downstand beams protrude through the timber planks to establish a series ofbays running front toback.

Belgo floors are normally finished in polished concrete,a finish that proved to costly on Jersey;instead Mango limestone slabs were used throughout and have helped reinforce the predominantly ambertoned lighting scheme.The gridded glazed opening on the street facade is made up ofsquares oftextured cathedral glass in shades ofamber-yellow,laminated on to clear glass.In sunlight the squares glow green and blue,at night the amber tones take over.Inside,yellow up-lighting illuminates slang words on the walls:

Stoeffenek (poser),Kiekenfreter (chicken eater) and Onnuzel (idiot) - a form of audience abuse,perhaps.

Lacquered wagon-wheel light fittings were custom designed and are fitted with halogen lamps which dim from yellow to amber as the evening progresses.Lowvoltage spots are mounted in alcoves and bulkheads.

A long chocolate brown leather-covered banquette runs along one wall.Other furniture is from regular Belgo supplier Casino Container,but for Jersey items have been stained a warmer oak colour.

Beer bottles double as drink and decoration - in the display shelfover the glassfronted fridges and the cabinets in the lobster alcove.Jersey Belgo is Antarchitecture’s first project.

CREDITS

CLIENT Belgo

ARCHITECT Antarchitecture

MAIN CONTRACTOR Chameleon Refurbishment

SUBCONTRACTORS AND SUPPLIERS

mechanical & electrical Alpha;

zinc-faced bar Monarch Catering;

light fittings Targetti Mondial LV Spots;

Mango limestone flooring Mandarin Slate;

cathedral glass James Hetley;

tables & chairs Casino Container, Germany;

leather benches Cottage Furniture

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