Design Focus: Dalziel Park
Lisini Pub Company carried home the Best Community Spirit award at this year’s DRAM awards and its latest work-in-progress, Dalziel Park, near Motherwell, is being marketed at the local community – and also as a destination venue.
Therefore this, the fifth outlet for the company headed up by Siobhan Edwards and Lisa Wishart, is a bit of a departure for the sisters, although it has still been designed with a strong community focus in mind, much like the other outlets in the Lisini stable. Explains Siobhan, “This is our first North Lanarkshire venture and we have around 500 houses within spitting distance, and we see this as somewhere people in the local area could use to mark all the important occasions in life, and rites of passage, like birthdays, christenings and weddings. Although of course we realise that this isn’t the type of place people would just pop to, given its out of the way location, so it’s very much a destination venue too, and we wanted the design to reflect all of these considerations.”
Dalziel Park opened last month, although they acquired the country house and golf club back in June, working tirelessly to deliver a high end outlet with a hefty dollop of WOW factor in the intervening months. As well as both the sisters’ inputs, the design was conceived by the design studio of ib:dp, a company that has worked with Lisini on several occasions in the past.
I popped along to meet the sisters on the day the Cedar Suite and the Bar and Brasserie were getting their first airing to the public, and they were both calm and centred, considering the challenges the last six months had presented. Says Siobhan, “We found a lot of skeletons in the cupboard, let’s say, and the majority of the budget has gone on work behind the scenes. We inherited lots of problems with the drains spilling out raw sewage, you name it, and this caused us to go over budget. We also installed two brand new kitchens, two brand new cellars a bar and a Pro Golf shop, as well as all the cosmetic changes to the public facing areas.”
Dalziel Park is set in 250 acres, has a 600-capacity and is split into the Cedar Suite, two conference rooms, the bar and brasserie and the restaurant, called the Wide Mouth Frog. Apart from the restaurant, the rest of the building was fully operational on the day of my visit.
The restaurant wasn’t far off completion however, while the hotel rooms and adjacent coach house get the Lisini treatment in February, and the plans are for a boutique hotel style re-design for all the accommodation.
Starting with the reception area and you’re confronted by a long white space with two large oblong sky lights that allow in plenty of natural daylight. The white tiled floor is clean and stylish, as are the wooden reception desk, armchairs and standard lamps dotted around the place. But it’s the strung out chandelier lights either side of the reception desk that really steal the show. There’s also a plasma screen directly opposite the reception desk, so the staff as well as the customers should be kept entertained round the clock.
This leads right into the bar, and in turn, the brasserie, which have a fairly masculine presence to them – like a Gentlemen’s club. This area is characterised by lots of different nooks and crannies and a design that blends a busy carpet and polished wooden floors with plain walls and luxuriant shiny textured wallpaper. There’s also a gas flame-effect fire in black in the centre of the space, with a circular mirror above it. The bar is an elongated u-shape and serves both this area and the brasserie beyond, which looks on to the golf course. The bar itself has been constructed using an oak panelled front, with marble top, finished off with some lovely grey pendant lights. Wood has also been use for the back bar to create shelving, and the overall effect is one of sophistication.
The brasserie on the far side of the bar is a different kettle of fish. It’s a lot brighter for one thing as it benefits from all the natural light streaming in through the windows. Wooden beams run along the ceiling, matching the wooden pillars and wooden booths. Clusters of cylindrical copper lights hang from the ceiling and the addition of silver stag’s head makes it resemble a chic Highland retreat. The furniture is a cool mix of black and red leather seating.
The brasserie is sandwiched between what will be the Wide Mouth Frog restaurant, which was still under construction on the day of my visit, and two meeting/conference facilities called the Willow and Woodlands rooms. The Willow overlooks the grounds, and a wooden partition separates it and the Woodlands, but this can be removed, along with the carpet, to accommodate party functions and dancing. But this too presented some logistical problems, according to Thomas Carey, MD of AFH Strategic Contracts, main contractor on the job. He said, “We had to open up a wall to insert a folding wall between the Willow and Woodlands suites but we had to dig down eight feet because of weaker than expected pad foundations.”
The remaining area is in a newer part of the building with its own separate entrance, foyer/bar and what is arguably the jewel in the Dalziel Park’s crown, the Cedar Suite. Through the glass door and you’re immediately in the foyer/bar. The ceiling stood out to me most with its three lozenge-shaped chandelier lights that give the spacious room a regal feel. The fern patterned black and white carpet and wallpaper only enhance the whole opulent vibe, and the bar combines the classic components of wood, mirrors and black granite, in a very understated way. A row of glass doors lead into the 400-capacity Cedar suite itself, with tables and chairs around a dance floor, with a focal point stage. Huge windows allow in a lot of light and afford marvellous views across the grounds. All of the lighting, carpets and curtains have all been updated in this room, and its sheer size alone gives it a WOW factor.
Dalziel Park may still be a work-in-progress, and even though there was still a little while to go before the product is finally finished, it’s still clear that this outlet marks an expansion by Lisini both geographically and in terms of ambition.