A new Italian restaurant designed by Fabled Studio has opened in a reconfigured tobacco factory in London’s Covent Garden.
Margot was conceived by Paulo de Tarso, formerly of Bar Boulud, and Nicolas Jaouën, of La Petite Maison. It launched this month on Great Queen Street, with Maurizio Maurelli as executive chef.
Fabled Studio, previously responsible for Restaurant Gordon Ramsay and Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, were asked to create a relaxed but elegant environment that drew on the spirit of an Italian Nonna’s kitchen.
‘Being a celebration of fresh Italian food, we wanted to recall the Italian greats of design,’ says architect Tom Strother. ‘We drew upon some of Gio Ponti’s and Fornasetti’s famous styles, whilst the lower floor pays tribute to the Turin apartment of eccentric designer Carlo Mollino.’
Construction presented its challenges. ‘It’s an amalgamation of two buildings, one part being an old Lambert & Butler cigarette factory, which had a lowered loading bay that cut across the ceiling height in the basement,’ says Strother.
‘Being a corner site, the building had an awkward angled shape. To create a sense of balance and rhythm, we had to work with the shape rather than trying to force symmetry and right angles in a space with none.’
Set across two floors, the main dining area is focused around the open kitchen, where guests can watch the pasta being made, and a long dining bar with charcuterie service. It has a relaxed but sophisticated atmosphere, filled with natural light from the large windows, while downstairs there is a cosier, late night feel compounded by the cocktail bar.
Deep blues, dark leather and pale marble dominate the elegant and contemporary palette, while pillars are dotted with turquoise marble domes. Copper accents throughout evoke the copper pans often found in Italy.
Margot’s wallpaper was similarly inspired, says Strother. ‘The style came from the 1950’s geometric patterned wallpapers that we saw in Italian kitchens.’
The food echoes this sensibility, with Morelli bringing diners an authentic taste of Italy’s various gastronomic regions.
Margot places a premium on atmosphere. ‘For me, restaurants can be magical places,’ says Strother. ‘Apart from the food, the most important thing is that every guest has a great experience, that each seat is a good seat and you have flattering lighting. If you’re creating a restaurant that has a table you wouldn’t want to be seated at, no one else will.’