The National Trust is piloting a bistro-style restaurant concept in Northern Ireland, designed by retail consultancy First, with plans to roll out the concept to other parts of the UK later this year.
According to a National Trust spokeswoman, the concept represents a new direction for the brand’s catering offer, which currently has a ‘tearoom’ image.
Interiors will be unique to each location while branding, signage, cutlery and furniture – also created by First – will be used to express a common brand personality, says First partner Jonathan Blakeney.
First has developed a colour palette of dark aubergine and matt silver. Interiors work takes its cue from the architectural qualities of each building, says Blakeney.
He says, ‘We want to avoid a cookie cutter approach to roll-out. We don’t want an identical execution in every one.’
Blakeney leads the project with designers Stephen Jepson and Ben Russell responsible for interiors and graphics respectively.
The Bay Restaurant near Belfast opens to evening diners on 25 April and a second cafÃ©-bistro is due to open at Ightham Mote in Kent at the end of July.
First was appointed to the project without a pitch.