The legendary Blue Bar at The Berkeley, created by the late David Collins, re-opens its doors this July 2016 after a six month restoration by one of his former design protégés Robert Angell.
The Blue Bar with its distinctive signature Lutyen’s blue colour, helped spearhead the popularity of the vibrant London hotel bar scene when it first opened in 2004. While still being respectful to the original Collins design and historic Lutyen’s panelling, The Blue Bar has been restored and extended with a dramatic new glass pavilion created by long-time friend of the hotel, Richard Rogers, and his company Rogers Stirk Harbours & Partners. Robert Angell has sensitively masterminded the evolution of The Blue Bar design to enhance the overall bar experience. Commenting on the project Angell said “I am very touched and proud to have been asked to work on this distinguished bar at The Berkeley. I was particularly mindful of respecting David’s design legacy whilst still trying to add a touch of my own aesthetic”.
The iconic wooden panelling of The Blue Bar designed by British architect Sir Edwin Lutyen’s came from the original Berkeley hotel when it was based in Piccadilly and has been restored and painted in the distinctive Lutyen’s Blue with additional colour touches of seductive reds with black and silver tones. The dramatic central lighting structure has been retained, an authentic Lutyen’s design known as ‘the Cardinals Hat’, with broad flat glass rims to diffuse the light and elegant suspended red tassels. A blue bar, topped with onyx, dramatically takes centre stage set on a floor of white marble and dark crocodile print navy leather, mirrored by blue leather touches on the bespoke furniture.
The entrance doors to the bar have been narrowed to add a sense of discretion and intimacy. The glass pavilion extension illuminates the space through delicate honeycomb detailing within the floor to ceiling glass panels. The dramatic carbon fibre beams extending from the entrance to support the glass canopy above bring a curved linearity and bright new dynamic to the bar.
All the furniture in The Blue Bar has been designed by Robert Angell and hand made by custom furniture craftsmen Ben Whistler. Paying homage to David Collins’ Irish heritage, Angell has collaborated with Irish textile designer Jude Cassidy to create the fabrics in hues of blue and silver. The rotating louvered screens on the windows of The Blue Bar glass pavilion have been inspired by French architect Jean Prouvé and are upholstered in red and blue bespoke material.
The Blue Bar menu ‘Cocktails with True Colour’ has been created by Bar Manager and mixology expert Rashid Ghuloom to pay tribute to the use of colour in the bar. The new menu will offer an array of bespoke cocktails that increase in potency depending on the colour chosen ranging from the subtle Green section to Yellow champagne cocktails to potent Red highballs and finally a selection of favourites within the Blue cocktails. Commenting on the new offering, Ghuloom states “We’re excited to introduce our new Blue Bar cocktail list, where we have taken inspiration from the colours of the bar and very much look forward to putting the Blue Bar back on the London map.”