Phoenix Wharf has designed a new community foodie hub for innovative bakery business The Bristol Loaf. Located in Bedminster, in the south of the city, the café-store sits within Engine House Developments, a boutique, mixed-use development, taking up the entirety of the site's ground floor, with 240 sq m front-of-house space and 90 sq m back-of-house.
The Bristol Loaf will be retailing its own takeaway bakery produces in the space, as well as offering café customers a menu that includes coffee and pastries and a deli offering encompassing soups and sandwiches, quiches and salads, plus drinks such as smoothies and kombucha. All the products will be locally-sourced and all dishes made from scratch on-site. Local operator Hugo's Greengrocer is taking a 25 sq m space within the offer and there will be two other specialist producers present: The Bristol Loaf's new sister brand, wine specialist The Bristol Vine, and local cheesemonger Two Belly.
The brief for the new site was to create a community foodie hub that widened The Bristol Loaf's offer but was still visibly linked to the original venue. The business's commitment to sustainability meant initiatives such as using heat generated by the kitchen ovens to heat the whole space, with the smell of freshly-baked bread also filling the air. A fully-digitized order system will prevent any paper wastage, whilst the timber from former baker's tables from The Bristol Loaf's first premises has also been sanded back to minimize signs of wear and tear before being re-constructed as tables for the new venue's café.
"For the interior look and feel, the client asked for planting to be a really stand-out, nature-inspired element, building on the presence of plants in the original Redfield site," commented Phoenix Wharf Associate Creative Director Emma Carter. "The materials palette is both rustic and tactile and includes white tiling and the extensive use of solid ash timber for shelving, corridors and even ceiling panels, alongside brick and raw, exposed concrete, ensuring the overall aesthetic is the antithesis of a slick, super-polished look."
As visitors enter, they're greeted by a floor-to-ceiling bread display, so that the bakery offer is clearly communicated. The entrance area is glazed and open with plenty of room for buggy-parking. The planting is visually-dominant from the get-go. "We blacked out the 4.1m high ceiling and created troughs almost a metre down, clad in ash timber slats and travelling the whole ceiling perimeter, housing a number of large, trailing plants," Carter explained. "The troughs also conceal the electrical cabling, whilst criss-cross wiring creates structural support for the irrigation system."
Immediately to the left is the Hugo's Greengrocer store, followed by the main café counter service area, with the café itself taking up the rest of the open space. The two additional offers are The Bristol Vine, which includes a wine-tasting station, featuring all colors of wine, along with expert reviews and guidance and cheesemonger Two Belly, offering a curated selection of cheeses and suggested beers to accompany them, both of which are located against the rear wall.
The bakery area includes a takeaway sales area; a central freestanding bread display behind the counter; a pastries area for customers to help themselves en route to the till; a chiller for the display of the deli café food offer; a hot-food area under heat lamps; a 3.5m coffee station with ample space around it for collecting drinks and the till area. Care has been taken to avoid pinch points for kitchen staff, waiting staff and customers collecting coffee, whilst at the same time separately zoning out the kitchen, counter and bakers' spaces.
Lighting over the café seating area features clustered paper lanterns to create a soft and homely feel, whilst feature lighting over the counters is in the form of reconditioned factory pendants, offering a soft, lower level glow above the service and coffee counter areas. Flooring is an existing concrete-look tiling, which, where damaged, has been additionally concrete-screeded to ensure a safe overall level. All the counters are clad in white tiling apart from the rear counter, which is made up of wooden slats.
Photography: Franklin & Franklin