Architectural practice Studio RHE has just completed Palatino, an iconic Italian restaurant on Central Street in Clerkenwell. Palatino is both the entrance space for newly opened co-working venue Fora Space, and a stand alone neighbourhood restaurant by Stevie Parle, chef-owner of the Dock Kitchen, Rotorino and Craft London.
Studio RHE has created an elegant and pared back space to set the tone for both the professional and flexible ethos of Fora Space Central Street, also designed by Studio RHE, and the contemporary and unpretentious Roman food that defines Palatino.
The architects worked with Stevie Parle from the outset to create an active all day restaurant in which to enjoy a craft coffee, fresh pasta, pizza or glass of Italian wine, and an ambient evening dining venue to experience a selection of antipasti, primi, secondi and dolci courses from the menu.
Palatino and Fora Space share an entrance off Central Street, through an architectural black steel revolving door and into a welcoming hotel concierge-style reception. This leads to a striking curved cast and fluted concrete bar that defines the restaurant space. Set behind this is Palatino’s open gallery kitchen, designed around three core elements: a fresh pasta machine; a wood burning grill for an array of meat dishes and a stone oven for fresh pizza bianco and pastries.
The seating area combines banked seating with a scrubbed timber table running down the centre, for the serving of pizza bianco, sandwiches, salads, soups and coffee throughout the day. Running alongside the tables are more intimate banquettes upholstered in warm yellow leather. The banquettes are designed for meetings that can freely turn into lunches and dinners and vice versa.
The restaurant space enjoys natural light throughout the day and is carefully fitted with an eclectic mix of warm antique glass and reclaimed lighting fixtures, helping the space to morph from an all day restaurant to evening dining experience.
The material palette for the restaurant is informed by, and an integral part of the overall Fora Space Central Street concept, featuring exposed steel, black painted metal, muted grey walls and pale timber furniture. Palatino’s addition of bright yellow leather upholstery gives the space a distinctive and vibrant accent colour.
Studio RHE Director Richard Hywel Evans commented: “Palatino is a key component in creating a modern working community at Fora Space Central Street, where food, drink and socialising play an important part of the overall experience. The restaurant moves seamlessly from buzzing daytime eatery to a vibrant and welcoming restaurant in the evening and has been embraced by the Clerkenwell community. We worked very closely with Stevie Parle to create an ambience that complements and enhances the comforting and unpretentious food and service.”
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