Native Restaurant at Brown’s luxury retailer in Mayfair, London is a new collaboration between Native’s award winning co-founders Imogen Davis and Ivan Tisdall-Downes and Browns Fashion to create a fully sustainable zero-waste dining experience at its new flagship store at 39 Brook Street, a Grade II listed building thoughtfully restored and reimagined by revered Milan-based architects Dimore Studio.
Engaging the services of Red Deer with a brief of being ‘in charge of uniting food and fashion, with a hand crafted edge’ Native team’s desire to reuse waste materials, champion rising artists and work with British craftspeople and suppliers. This meant negating mass over production and forging parallels between Native’s carbon neutral, less wasteful approach and Red Deer’s ethos of championing home grown artisan producers and artists.
Because of its reputation as a leading specialist in the design and manufacture hand crafted artisan mosaic surfaces for commercial and residential projects throughout the UK Armatile was approached to participate in the project.
In keeping with the period of the Grade II listed building dating from 1720 Red Deer wanted to create a bespoke aged mosaic floor telling the story of Browns’ and Native’s collaboration.
Armatile’s Contract’s Manager, Alex Longridge, worked closely with Red Deer’s founding director Ciarán O’Brien to find the right combination of products and colours to bring to life the bespoke mosaic floor designed by Brown’s in-house graphic designer Alex Swan Maldini.
Inspired by the Romanesque tradition of an “unswept room” the design incorporated oversized motifs, including a mushroom, a handbag to reflect the fashion link with Browns, and a squirrel (a nod to one of Native’s most infamous dishes, a grey squirrel lasagne).
Engaging with the sustainability and reduced carbon ethos of this project Alex and Ciaran utilised Armatile’s zero waste to landfill practices to select recycled or waste marbles of each individual, detailed design and handmade mosaic pieces that combine to deliver a sense of artisanship that matches the restaurant’s award winning food.
The Creation of a Bespoke Handmade Mosaic Tapestry
Armatile pushed the limits of handmade art by creating an intricate mosaic floor tapestry for the restaurant.
Design Anthology described the mosaic floor, made by Armatile, as “Native’s triumph” while Red Deer commented how “you can really appreciate the tactility and craftsmanship exhibited”.
Using waste and recycled marble Armatile’s team hand cut, shaped and fitted thousands of small mosaic pieces to in specific places to create and incorporate designs and ten detailed motifs into the fabric of the floor including herbs, mushroom, squirrel, handbag and prawns. Every single piece of mosaic was meticulously pre-mounted on mesh that formed interlocking panels. These were then dry laid for quality inspection, numbered, boxed and prepared for delivery to site. Armatile team of highly accomplished artisans used all their skills, dexterity and outstanding patience to create this beautifully hand crafted mosaic floor that not only met but exceeded the expectations of everyone involved.
The attention to detail and high quality craftsmanship needed to create this floor is not to be underestimated. It’s truly a work of art!
The whole mosaic floor was made and installed in just ten days, a huge time difference compared to a traditional hand-laid mosaic floor.
This was achieved because of the expertise of Armatile’s Artisan Mosaic Team and its accomplished method of pre-mounting and supplying all mosaic surfaces on modular mesh-mounted panels. It was an important element of the project programme as it removed traditional difficulties associated with mosaic installations on site. Subsequently installation labour costs were also greatly reduced, disruption to all other trades on site was minimal and altogether the process ensured the client was able to meet the tight contract deadlines with confidence.
Becoming more sustainable (whether in food, fashion or interior design) is in the first instance about recognising the problem and doing something about it. With Armatile’s assistance Ciaran O'Brien and Red Deer have proved then when you label something ‘eco’ “it doesn’t need to lose any of its quality.” The beautiful handmade mosaic floor is an integral part of the overall design of Native at Brown’s ‘eco’ restaurant experience with the sustainable approach. The team in Armatile is extremely proud to have played our part in taking the combined ethical and creative philosophies of Native, Browns and Red Deer and making them a reality.
Images taken on site credited to Boz Gagovski
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