The physical space, previously a market-style grocery, presented a welcome challenge for BVH: how to design a bespoke, retro-fit transformation, from the larger concept down to the details, within humble, predetermined boundaries. The initial design concept, developed through owner collaboration, was a centennial-inspired dialogue between 1920s art, fashion, and design culture of prohibition-era United States and the elite, yet rough-and-tumble English racing culture of the same time period. The venue, in fact, takes its name from Woolf Barnato – the successful Le Mans racing driver and one of the “Bentley Boys,” a cadre of larger-than-life characters known for their lavish parties.
The intent of the built work, however, was not to replicate a time period, but to mindfully co-opt references to produce a new, unexpected outcome. The realization of the project, fittingly, was achieved through a versatile combination of advanced technologies and ageless hand craftsmanship. The dynamic, diamond-patterned steel signage canopy at the entry was designed through digital parametric modeling and precision machine-fabricated, while the upholstered booths inside the lounge were hand measured, stitched, and button-tufted onto wood framing. The slatted white oak stage canopy was CNC-milled for precision alignment and concealing programmable LED lighting, while the rich white oak and walnut bar tops were hand shaped and lacquered on site.
Photography by Dana Damewood Photography