Nick Leith-Smith and Forward Associates have recently completed the new Directors Club - a 180-seat, fine-dining restaurant at Aston Villa.
"Rather than just create an exceptional restaurant, we wanted to invite Aston Villa fans into the inner sanctum," said Roy Westwood of Forward Associates. "The Directors' Club doesn't just imitate the VIP experience but offers fans a chance to dine, drink and watch the game with the great and the good of football."
The main spatial strategy was to place the directors box at the heart of the new restaurant. This acts as the focal point to the room, connecting and separating the diners from the directors. Diners are able to see the comings and goings, while the glazed partitions and wine wall offers further natural theatre and tantalising glimpses into a world rarely seen.
At either end of the room are two marble-topped bars. Constructed from steel and amplifed by the addition of mesh gantries made from brass, the bars have significant impact. The front panels are steel framed, elevating the bars, while the brass edging and skirting create coherent ascents.
The branding for The Directors' Club - the diagonal lines of the A and the V of Aston Villa - are weaved into the design, such as within the interlocking relief panelling, and help to introduce a sense of movement throughout the space.
To avoid over-branding the space, the materials and colors are respectful of Aston Villa but given greater depth through the use of different shades of blues. Dark oak floors, wall panelling and tables adds to the sense of history, while brass is used to detail the skirting and table edges, helping to brighten the environment. Shaped lounge chairs and geometric tiles add to the eclectic mix, while the Michael Anastassiades' balancing balls wall lights are a perceptive nod to the game.