While most Londoners about town are familiar with Oliver Peyton’s fashionable and stylish Mash and Isola bar and restaurants, the designer behind it, Andy Martin, has a surprisingly low profile. This is something the Australian-born, and until recently Paris-based, architect is out to change: he is keen to get his hands on bigger projects. He has just finished AKA, a restaurant in a former Irish theme bar in Dublin, and goes on-site this summer at Peyton’s Coast bar, which Martin is refurbishing. There is the possibility of more Peyton ventures – another Mash as well as a bar in Somerset House. At Coast, the revamp of his own design will include a sculptural installation on the ceiling, new furniture and a rearrangement of the spaces, which will include a more loungey feel downstairs and a new cocktail bar and restaurant. A restaurant in New York is also in the offing. Whatever the project, his key interest is ‘playing with space and anti-space’ (he particularly likes piercing walls with holes, such as the oblong opening in the Mash reception) and in using materials in new, sometimes contradictory ways. While his consultancy Fin Architects & Designers is also involved in architectural projects such as a possible hotel in Oxford and private apartments, he admits that he has become somewhat ‘stuck’ in restaurant and bar interiors – a victim of the success of his stylish and, in Mash’s case, retro-influenced work. And if that’s a problem, its one that many of his peers would dearly love to have.
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