Located in the Tea Building in Shoreditch, East London, our brief was to create a restaurant interior that reflected the era of the Tea Building, with a strong reference to British manufacturing and design from the mid-20th century.
The Tea Building is an imposing eight-storey building (initially built as a bacon factory for the Lipton brand) that still dominates the junction of Shoreditch High Street and Bethnal Green Road. Lyle’s restaurant, which takes its name from James’ Mother’s maiden name, is located on the ground floor of the Tea Building.
We took inspiration from the years that Tea Building was established, with strong references to mid-20th century industrial design whilst always paying homage to British manufacturing and design. The overall style is uncomplicated, simple and relaxed. Natural light spills across the 120 sqm, 52-cover dining space due to three vast factory-paned windows to the front elevation of the building. An internal window in the same proportions connects existing Tea Building entrance with Lyle’s restaurant.
We wanted to reference the existing fabric and architectural features of the Tea Building in our choice of materials. The venue has a poured natural concrete floor with simple, white crackle glazed tiles to the perimeter elevations and painted brick evoking an un-intimidating space where people feel comfortable, with the staff and guests providing the colour and warmth. This is enhanced by an open kitchen which is protected by an over 5 metre long pass counter that also doubles as a waiter station and storage unit.
The joinery features honest details with a subtle contrast in woods with rich Iroko and warm, waxed Oak. Across the dining room there is only one style of seat setting – a two person table shrouded by reclaimed Ercol stick back chairs, a reference to long lasting quality of British design. The ceiling is gridded with large grey industrial lights reclaimed from an aerospace factory in Coventry suspended within the concrete coffers of the existing ceiling.
Lyle’s is an all-day restaurant, starting with breakfast coffee (Belleville from Paris and Koppi from Sweden) and onsite-baked goods. The food is British, simple and driven by a common sense kind of mentality. The menu includes dishes such as Jersey Royals, Seaweed & Duck Egg; Aged Dover Sole, Monk’s Beard & Anchovy; Brown Butter Cake, Marmalade and Soured Cream.