Ikoyi is in a class of its own, not just in the culinary arts but also in interior design. Danish designer David Thulstrup uses Baltic architectural mesh from GKD for the expressive spaces of this 2-Michelin-starred London restaurant.
The visionary founders of Michelin-starred restaurant Ikoyi, head chef Jeremy Chan and businessman Iré Hassan-Odukale, moved into the concrete complex “180 The Strand” close to Covent Garden at the end of 2022. The two partners succeeded in getting the renowned Studio David Thulstrup from Copenhagen on board for interior design. Thulstrup’s works include the design of Noma in Copenhagen, which has been crowned the best restaurant in the world no less than five times.
For Ikoyi, Thulstrup created rooms that fully live up to the reputation of the landmarked, brutalist architectural character of this former office complex. With its rare combination of warmth and minimalism, the restaurant’s interior acts as a continuation of the food creations by Jeremy Chan.
It should be noted here that in Chan’s kitchen, he not only pays attention to top-quality, sustainably sourced ingredients. His cuisine also builds on spices that originate from West Africa. This is not inconsequential in the context of the architecture, as the interior designer wanted to pick up on the character of the cuisine in the dining room of Ikoyi without limiting the design to a specific culture.
The result shines in clear and strong architectural forms, while the material palette is refined to copper, stone, stainless steel mesh, leather and oak. The walls are clad in copper panels. Sometimes angular and solid, sometimes rounded and open, the walls shape the character of the room. The stone floor is elegant and cooler, its gentle irregular shimmer evoking images of the tamped earth floors of traditional old buildings. The ceiling covering, which is fully fitted with stainless steel mesh from GKD, creates a similar effect. It harmonizes perfectly with the architectural idea that Thulstrup describes as an interplay of opposites:
“A room full of drama and peace. A room that remains true to the place and yet is not anchored in a particular culture.”
The character comes through most strongly in the dining room. Fabric panels spanning the room curve down on one side to meet the backs of the benches. The architectural mesh is a striking element in the design of the room. It underpins the intimate and protected atmosphere, while appearing light and flexible. Thulstrup also uses the weave structure to create subdued lighting effects.
The ceiling is divided into 13 panels of GKD Baltic mesh, each approximately one meter wide. The length of the panels varies between 6 and 11 meters depending on whether they also serve as a vertical curtain down to the seats or end where they meet the vertical wall cladding. “The fabric diffuses the light as though it were another culinary ingredient,” says Marc Alonso, Architect and Market Manager for Northern Europe and UK at GKD. “Because our stainless steel mesh is completely recyclable, it also fits with the head chef’s sustainable ethos. This is a project in which our fabric is perfectly integrated into the whole by creating harmony and contrasts in juxtaposition with the other materials,” explains Alonso. That’s what the jury of the Wallpaper* Design Award 2023 think too: they awarded Ikoyi best restaurant of the year.