Design Focus: Vittoria on the Bridge

Tony Crolla has spent approximately £300k on extensive alterations and drastic refurbishments at Vittoria on the Bridge on George lV Bridge in Edinburgh, and Michael Dunn of MD Hospitality was the project’s design consultant.

As well as all the lovely new shiny gold signage and cleanly painted frontage, inside is a haven of white, grey, yellow and gold and even though my visit was confined to the daytime, assistant manager Stefano assured me that at night the amount of light it kicks out
onto the street acts as a beacon attracting customers old and new, intrigued to check out what’s going on.

One of the most remarkable things, considering how much has changed inside and out, is the fact that the business didn’t lose one single day of trading while the works were carried out. The team began the work on January 7th and it was all completed by Valentine’s Day.

Michael Dunn told DRAM, “The Crolla family was very worried about making changes to their flagship outlet but the refurbishment has improved business for the better. Sales are dramatically up and the whole family is delighted at the business development results on their design investment.”

So what’s the design like?

The first thoughts that hit me as soon as I stepped into this two-storey venue (ground floor and basement) apart from hungry ones because of the plates of super-delicious looking food being transported back and forth to the tables (is how bright it is, how clean it is and how much it oozes quality and sophistication.

The reception desk is right opposite the door and has been made using marble, which has been used fairly extensively elsewhere in the restaurant, like the dividers between the seating and the pillars, for example.

The bar is on the left-hand-side as you enter and what a jewel in the crown of the ground-floor space it is. The white marble bar top is complemented by more marble clad on its front. In parallel with the bar is a line of striking leather swivel stools that are plush to the touch. The back bar’s gold metal shelving is busy accommodating premium spirits and the same shelving is also used above the bar at its far right end for storage of glsses etc.

The floor’s been decked out in black and white tiles with a triangular patter running through them next to the bar, while brand new parquet flooring covers the rest of the space and on the walls is what appears to be a very subtle-patterned wallpaper in a greenish-grey that almost looks like white cloud in the sky. The incredibly high ceilings are painted white and the original cornicing is there, or cornicing that looks original at least, which is always a boon.

Running along the right-hand-side wall as you enter is a row of blue-ish grey upholstered leather seating, paired with chairs in the same colour and fabric and black wooden tables with wide gold rims running around their perimeter. Above the booths are antique-cut mirrors and gold wall lights and above all of this hang huge statement pendant lights in a kind of cream colour that are really set off by the spaciousness of it all, on account of those
wonderful high ceilings.

At the back of the space are more chairs and tables, a servery and different types of lighting, like a huge big multi-armed piece containing a number of lights that looks like a big friendly spider.

On the walls are various pictures of Edinburgh landmarks that have been washed with bright and contrasting colours to make them look almost abstract.

Downstairs is simply more of the same. The bar is roughly in the same place even, but there are a few departures from the ground floor. As well as the blue-ish grey upholstery, an entire corner of the space is dominated by a massive expanse of yellow banquette above which are clear cylindrical lampshades with white lights inside of them hanging down on pendants.

This floor’s interior design has also been enhanced by lots of exposed brick. I also really liked the silver framed mirrors down here and the wooden wine cabinets that are embedded in the walls, illuminated.

It’s a bright bar with a bright future if all the customers flooding in as I left is any gauge, on top of all the positive feedback it’s garnering. This design really has been a triumph that is giving several new leases of life to Tony Crolla’s flagship venue, I suspect.

Jason Caddy

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