Blueplate Studios has crafted a design language for Adrift, the new restaurant by award-winning chef, David Myers. The project takes inspiration from the ‘gypsy’ chef’s culinary adventures, resulting in a combination of dining experiences aligned to a vibrant menu. Stephanie Peh writes.
A traveller’s dream enclave has been conjured up in the heart of Marina Bay Sands’ hotel lobby. Aptly titled “Adrift”, the 4,000 square-feet restaurant sits in the majestic vestibule like sculptural art, a visual delight to passing tourists eager to snap photographs of the first restaurant in Singapore by celebrity chef and restaurateur, David Myers.
Softly accentuated with hidden linear lighting, the cuboidal structure is underlined with a combination of dark copper fittings and timber planks of calculated proportions. The interweaving semi-enclosure teases and serves as an appetiser to a culinary adventure of overlapping worlds.
Adrift is a visual adrenaline, Myers’s personal wunderkammer where Blueplate Studios has employed an urban ‘Alice in Wonderland’, East-meets-West aesthetics, by working closely with the ‘gypsy’ chef and taking inspiration from his culinary journey from California to Asia.
“Not often do you get a design job where it is essentially a blank canvas and the chef has created something new,” shares Stephan Brutti, Associate Design Director at Blueplate Studios. Alluding to Myers’s bespoke menu, every bit of the space from interior furnishings to lighting fixtures and floor rugs were custom-made. “We tailored the space from a brief that revolves around emotions and feelings gathered from various parts of the world,” he adds.
Despite its large entity, the restaurant sits no more than 160 persons. Various dining spaces were considered during the stages of layout planning, leading to a collection of dining experiences catered for different purposes. “I always get fascinated by who uses which space, and at what time of the day. We were told that the ladies love the swing seats, while the lounge is popular with late night casino goers who just want to crash and have wind down drinks – I’m glad that people are using it [the various spaces] for different reasons,” Brutti reveals.
Upon entering, a Ginza-style cocktail bar takes centrestage, highlighting the theatrics of its performing mixologists. Intimate couples can enjoy specialty cocktails before or after their meals by the organically shaped bar lined with leather bar stools, recalling a vintage speakeasy memory.
Under diffused lighting, the bottom of the concrete bar is accentuated with an embossed effect of a snakeskin-like pattern, reinforcing a details oriented design philosophy. The pattern is consistently applied across metal screen panels, dividing the dining area and open kitchen cladded with reclaimed barn wood imported from America. The wooden planks sport a charred and weathered effect, housing a kitchen where chefs showcase the art of food torching.
For feasts over shared plates, larger groups can choose to sit on timber swing benches within a section inspired by a garden parlour, or venture deeper into Adrift where The Library, a premise which can be cordoned off, spots decorative oriental vintage photographs and quirky wallpaper of books.
Brutti believes that as designers, they merely provide the ingredients for a chef to realise his dream restaurant. Founded in 2007, Blueplate Studios is the specialty food and beverage outfit of luxury architectural and interior studio, Wilson Associates.
“We care about food and heightening the experience [of dining]. Everything revolves around the chef. We create a million and one ideas, providing chefs with ‘ingredients’ that we think might fit. He then chooses the elements that mean something to him,” Brutti explains. Despite its underlying travel theme, Adrift represents the collaborative spirit of Myers and Blueplate Studios, paving the way for contemporary dining ethos and experiences to come alive.