East meets the West Country

Fast food chain Singapore Sam is planning a move away from its traditional habitat, usually food hall locations in railway stations, and on to the high street with stand-alone sites. Managing director Chip Wong plans a ‘substantial group’ within three years.

A two-part project by Paul Mullins Associates has created the first of the new generation of branches, set to open during April in College Green, Bristol, while simultaneously rebranding the 18 food hall sites as Singapore Sam Express outlets. Discussions to acquire further sites are underway.

The stand-alone restaurant takes cues for its image from the traditional roadside food ‘hawkers’ common in parts of the Far East: the kitchens, complete with sizzling woks, are open, and there are simple wooden tables and metal chairs. A long bar in wood and stainless steel is inspired by the famous Raffles bar in Singapore, once the longest in the world.

Paul Mullins says that the consultancy has applied traditional materials in a contemporary way. Hence flooring is predominantly beech, and Thai Silk panels cover the side wall flanking the window, joining the two floors. Other walls use mahogany-effect MDF as a politically correct alternative to the real thing, which is commonly used in Singapore.

The Bristol branch benefits from a double height glass frontage. The effect is echoed inside by a void above the bar, allowing customers to see the more ‘decadent’ upstairs level which features silk clad walls and mauve and gold padded furniture, while a Hammerite finished steel staircase has been installed to get them there.

Design: Paul Mullins Associates

Client: Singapore Sam

Latest articles

Remembering Jon Daniel: 1966-2017

We look back on the life and work of the Design Week columnist, independent creative director and social activist “who helped put black participation on the political map”.