A couple of hospitality projects we have been working on recently are now open and trading successfully - Gather by Zique and the Bakery by Zique, both in Hyndland and both very much a product of the client/owner/proprietor’s force of will and imagination. Mhairi is always a joy to work with and suits our somewhat informal approach to these kinds of projects…whether it be these two distinctive businesses, Cottonrake or the soon to open 5March - it is the business owners that drive the concepts and agonize over every detail - what we tend to do is the initial spatial concepts - the flow and dwell of customers. Then its the nitty gritty spatial arrangements of squeezing big bulky catering and refrigeration equipment into tiny spaces to maximize the valuable floor-space and get more bums on seats. Then we get all of the required statutory permissions and are on call to quickly design small details, interfaces and finishes. We’ll certainly give our opinion on concepts/finishes/details and colours but our role is to support our clients in refining and delivering their concepts…these are always highly personal businesses and should always be a true reflection of the person behind them - not the whim of a designer. Its the client’s passion that makes these businesses what they are - not who they hire to draw stuff!
Hospitality projects have their own unique, market driven timelines. The more time they’re being built/renovated/repaired is the less time they are earning money, so tourism projects must be quick! Add into the mix the shorter season that Scotland has and that makes quick even quicker. The new chalets at Lochend have developed over a 12-week period from site start to guests arriving and this is phase 2 of a longer development strategy at this site – here’s hoping we get even quicker next year!
Its sometimes a strange feeling when you hand over a project to a client – especially one as all-consuming as Monachyle Beag. I never got blasé about it, I never got tired of the views from it and I never got bored of the endless obstacles we had to navigate. However now it is finally drawing to close and the building will start its new life as a place for the owners to enjoy it’s a precious moment for me to pause for breath and look back over the three years from the first moment the client stood on a rock on a mountainside and proclaimed he wanted his new hunting lodge right there. I’ll soon enough be engulfed in another project (i.e tomorrow!) and be solving a whole other set of problems but for now it’s the most rewarding part of this job – to sit back and enjoy what you’ve created for a fleeting moment before the band starts playing again.