London classical concert venue The Wigmore Hall is rebranding and redesigning its basement bar and restaurant, created by Portfolio Design, to increase passing trade and accommodate greater numbers of concert goers.
The bar and eaterie, launched in early September in time for the new concert season, features a new name – Cafe 36 – in recognition of the hall’s address at 36 Wigmore St. It will be branded as Cafe 36 externally to attract customers not attending a concert, and when approached from inside, signage will read Cafe 36 at The Wigmore Hall.
The space will feature a 14m-long glass illuminated bar, a greater serving capacity and lighter, more neutral colourways. Softer seating is being introduced, to cater to the elderly clientele, in addition to aluminium-framed cafÃ©-style seating designed to appeal to younger audiences, says Celine Issitt, senior designer at Portfolio Design.
“The original bar and restaurant – Sonata – was too fussy and outdated, and we wanted to move away from musical references to attract more passing trade from the street,” she says. “Outside, the street-level entrance will be brighter and more inviting.”
According to Paul Whiterod, Wigmore Hall finance director, the space is awkward to work with and would get congested during concert intervals. The Wigmore Hall briefed Portfolio to create a feeling of increased space.