Design focus: Paolozzi Restaurant and Bar


59-61 Forrest Road, Edinburgh

Edinburgh Beer Factory’s brand new Paolozzi Restaurant and Bar on Forrest Road briefly opened its doors to reveal a feast for art-lovers’ eyes before having to swiftly close again because of the
coronavirus crisis.

But we’re still able to take you through the design ahead of it re-opening hopefully soon. The team at Edinburgh Beer Factory, founders John and Lynne Dunsmore have joined forces
with Gino Stomaiuolo, owner Nonna’s Kitchen to open Paolozzi in a former RBS building.

It’s the namesake of Scottish sculptor and artist Eduardo Paolozzi and combines an explosion of beer, food, and art to celebrate the Great Scot and wider Italian Scottish culture.

Explained Marketing Manager, Kirsty Dunsmore, “The whole project has been inspired by the Edinburgh born ‘Father of Pop Art’, Eduardo Paolozzi – from the exposed industrial pipework, geometric shapes in the booth seating, colour accents, and sculptural bar, to Paolozzi artworks adorning the walls, toilet doors and kitchen surrounds.”

She continued, “Even the building work has been a ‘Paolozzi-esque’ work of transformation – we uncovered a beautiful ghost sign under the old bank branch front, plus a portion of the old city walls on the inside. Both will be left uncovered, revealing the ‘sublime in the everyday’. It’s a beautiful building and it’s thought the sign dates back to famed surgeons instruments maker Archibald Young & Son Limited, who originally traded at that address.”

Now for the DRAM verdict. A sculptural bar dominates the front area of the venue as soon as you walk in, beyond which is casual seating, while there’s plenty of natural light from ceiling and wall
windows that bring a touch of the outdoors into the former bank

Interestingly, and what we’re certain will become a big talking point, the old bank deposit vaults have been transformed into colourful toilets, which play audio clips of stories about Eduardo Paolozzi and
some of his works.

What pops out in the interior design of this long and brightly lit space are all the colours and the contemporariness of it alongside the traditional elements, like the beautiful exposed stone walls that
remind you of this building’s architectural vintage.

The ceiling has been painted white, plus there are several silver air vents that give it an industrial look and feel without overdoing it – plus an extension of the vents also hangs down over the exposed stone
in the form of black metal-framed structures with matt gold insets.

The furniture is a mixture of high tables and mustard yellow stools, plus there are some lovely blue corrugated banquettes paired with pink velvet chairs and white marble-top tables. Over the booths hang pendant lights.

The monochromatic bar itself is relatively simple in its design and construction – like black metal shelving for the back bar and a white marble top bar. I particularly like the big white head sculpture that sits atop the bar.  We’ve not come across anything like this before.

Paolozzi lager and other beers from the EBF range brewed less than five miles from the Restaurant & Bar, will be available to accompany a menu that has been designed by Gino, who will run the operation, and features ‘spuntini’ (Italian tapas-style sharing dishes served at the bar), antipasti, fresh salads, ‘build your own’ salumi and cheese plates, Naples style wood-fired pizza and some classic larger plates.

Despite not opening at the best of times, I’m sure its interior design will be just one of many reasons Paolozzi will be packing them in once coronavirus recedes.

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