The Living Room flagship bar and restaurant, located on Heddon Street in London’s West End, is a rather homely space. With its walnut trimmings, slate floor and low lighting, the overall effect is rather like a glammed-up version of its more common, slutty sister, the bar chain Slug & Lettuce. Designed by Shideh Shaygan, of Shaygan Interior Architecture, there are flashes of brilliance, such as the potting plants ‘curtain’ and a soaring vaulted wall, backlit with satin Perspex, for which Shaygan had to fight to get planning permission. A series of prints by Turner Prize nominee Yinka Shonibare, depicting Marie Antoinette-types dressed in Nigerian fabrics, adds a surreal touch that hints at a far braver interior design direction, fighting to break out from the anonymous brown leather chairs, the low coffee tables and the slightly twee, bookish atmosphere – all high street bar stalwarts. However, the venue is flirtatious enough to pull the want-to-be seen crowd, with design quirks such as open fireplaces built into Cubist-style display cabinets – perfect for nestling up to while nursing a bottle of red. After all, the diminutive Dannii Minogue was there for the launch party. Somehow, though, as a flagship, it mildly disappoints and is just inoffensively OK.
The Living Room is at 3-9 Heddon Street, London W1