Orient Express: Soba, The Lighthouse

Soba, The Lighthouse, 56 Mitchell Street, Glasgow G1 3NU

Client: Brad Sevens

Design: One Foot Taller (interiors); Lorne Bourhill (graphics)

The Lighthouse, Glasgow’s centre of architecture and design, has a new noodle bar – not of the Wagamama canteen variety, but a contemporary bar and restaurant that just happens to sell noodles and other Oriental fusion food. ‘The client said he wanted a relaxed and funky atmosphere, rather than a traditional noodle house,’ says One Foot Taller director Kathy Barac, adding that it had to be contemporary, fun, yet calm – just an enjoyable place to be.

Soba takes over from a previous café/ bar arranged over two floors adjacent to the entrance of the building. One Foot Taller retained the basic structure, but designed new ‘relaxing lounge furniture’ in dark-stained ash and walnut upholstered in Bute fabrics. Small coffee tables also double as seats. In the upper area, the atmosphere is light and airy, with colourful, totem-patterned wallpaper designed by local group Timorous Beasties and lime green upholstery.

Downstairs, One Foot Taller aimed to create as dark an atmosphere as possible, according to Barac, with lots of dark greens and black-on-black patterned wallpaper, again by Timorous Beasties, and fawn upholstery. For the identity, graphic designer Lorne Bourhill came up with a circular form that picks up on the circle patterns in the wallpaper and the circular tables. The ‘O’ of Soba is highlighted to resemble a ‘Ministry of Defence target and placed within a mustard-green circle’, she says. The target motif is carried through on to the menus – on a cup for the coffee menu and across the chest of a silhouetted drinker for the cocktails and shooters menu. ‘The client specifically didn’t want anything Oriental – he didn’t want to be pigeon-holed in that way,’ says Bourhill.

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