Patsy Godik, Creative Director at Gaucho Group and Head of Conceptualise, has created a new interior style for the ground floor at the group’s ‘townhouse’ flagship restaurant in Piccadilly. Taking inspiration from the Ombu, giant trees which are a striking natural feature of the Argentine rural and urban landscapes, the team has reconfigured the space previously occupied by the Cavas de Gaucho (wine room) and large bar area. The new layout has created additional dining space for nearly 100 covers.
Here we speak to Patsy to learn more about the project milestones, highlights and challenges, and design advice for restaurateurs.
What initiated the project?
We have a rolling programme of refurbishment for all our restaurants. It’s very important to us that everything we do is fresh and exciting, and that we keep abreast of what our guests are looking for, and that applies to the interiors as well as the food, drink and service style.
Where do you start with a restaurant redesign?
First, we come up with the overall concept, then the task is to work out how best to achieve our operational goals within the space available. We then evaluate how the concept fits into the brand evolution and at the same time implement the new design features with the brand identity. Then we need to nail the layout drawings before we can begin construction.
What research was conducted to bring the Argentinian nature feel to Gaucho?
I visit Argentina regularly and I love the giant Ombu trees that are part of the urban and rural landscapes. The beautiful trunks, branches and leaves of the trees have been in my mind as a design theme for some time, and I was so delighted to be able to see the concept realised.
Also, I have worked for the brand since 2006, so I understand how Gaucho works, what will work for the brand, and what will work for our guests.
How do you describe the new interior style?
We have brought Argentinian nature into a sophisticated, urban environment, using the Ombu’s soft grey colours, sculptural, swirling branches and roots, and its striking leaves as inspiration throughout. It’s a perfect contrast to the classic Gaucho style, with its homage to the home of Argentine beef, which has been maintained across the first and second floors of the restaurant.
The overall feel is one of an enchanted forest, with soft lighting and reflecting mirrors peeping through the wood carvings to enhance the atmosphere.
Are you refurbishing all Gaucho sites?
We have just completed the refurbishment of Gaucho Broadgate, as well as Piccadilly, which looks fabulous, but not all Gaucho restaurants will have the new design.
Our classic look is much-loved, and it’s interpreted in different ways in each location – we pride ourselves on ensuring that every Gaucho is distinctive, and many of our guests use more than one on a regular basis, as they enjoy the different atmospheres.
What was the project’s highlight?
The highlight was definitely bringing the Ombu tree to life and seeing it in so many design aspects.
Any challenges throughout the process?
We really didn’t have a major challenge on this particular job, but I always expect the unexpected on every project and try to make the most of the situation. For example, if a column is larger than expected, make a feature of it. Working in an old building we never really know what we are going to find, but we never let anything be a lowlight.
Lastly, what are your three tips for others thinking of a redesign?
1) Make sure the design is part of the brand evolution
2) The new look should give a clear message of who you are and what you represent
3) Make sure your design is a step forward
Photos courtesy of Gaucho