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Simon McIlwraith

Interior Designer Of The Year
seating area
garden plants
chandeliers from paris
copper pipes
bar counter
interior entrance
plants on seating
lovely beer font
bar lights
snug room
news wall
glass wall
gin display
sign wall
clock seating
entrance door
seating
main area

Mr. Simon McIlwraith
Collective design
Gateshead

Simon McIlwraith established Collective design 4 years ago. Since then he has watched the business developed into one of the most creative and unique interior design practices in the U.K. Simon’s raw passion and love of interiors design has seen him push the boundaries and create his distinctive style.

Collective design has gone from strength to strength with new offices in the Heart of Newcastle and working with some of the biggest brand names in the commercial world.
“A lot has happened in a few years since setting up Collective Design from a small bedroom in Gateshead. It’s been incredible journey and worth all the sleepless nights and hard work”. His motivation, focus and creative talents truly set Simon apart. This year has seen Simon expand into other markets with his brand HAUS OF COLLECTIVE which specialize in an extensive range of bespoke furniture, lighting and wallpaper designs.

The Project
Pleased To Meet You:
On High Bridge Street, Newcastle was a derelict pub which had been abandoned for a number of years and was in a state of decline along with the rest of the street. Plans were drawn up to create a new and exciting concept of bar and restaurant. This Grade II listed building was transformed into a contemporary Gin, Draft bar and eatery. The transformation has regenerated the area and created excitement around it. Pleased To Meet You has already become a favorite with the people of Newcastle with its unique style and timeless design.

The Design Brief
The design brief was clear from the client, “Create an experience which people will not forget. It is important that people feel a connection with the building. Its history must also be exposed and celebrated. The design needs to inspire and be exciting. Ambience and style are key to this. The interior also needs to operate smoothly so that service is at the highest level at all times. Areas of interest and defined spaces are also required to provide intrigue. The customer must be left feeling that they have had a magical experience like no other.”

Inspiration
The inspiration behind the interior stems from its function. The celebration of Gin, Food and Draft craft beer became a focus. The Interior Design makes the function theatrical and exciting complimenting the offering on show. The interior strips back the history of the building and was the starting point for the concept. Every day on site as the building exposed its secrets inspired the development of the Interior. Strong branding and a defined design language became apparent early on. The character and industrial nature of the venue shines through and was controlled to create the overall final results.

The Aim and Objectives
The aim was to design a venue like no other. The street which Pleased To Meet You is situated on has had hard economic times and was looking derelict. The challenge was not only to design a bar but to reinvent the street and peoples perceptions of the area. The bar had social responsibilities to provide this. The commercial objectives were to create an interior which the public would feel a connection with. The design had to make a statement and create a deep impact on the city.

“We are creating a point of difference, it’s a new way of thinking, and this design has it all and then keeps giving more.”
Simon McIlwraith on Pleased To Meet You

Design Features
The design is made up of a number of textures, tones, shadows and light. The contrasts between these make a theatrical ambience. It is these elements which are fused together to evoke an emotional reaction. As an interior designer it is this reaction “I set out to achieve. The result should make people feel a connection with the environment and physically relate to its personality through all uses of the human senses.”

Rustic original brick, rivet steel and rich hard wood floors are the foundations of the design. This paves the way for soft leathers, warm polished copper tones, gleaming surfaces of marble and raw exposed timbers brimming with character and charisma. This tactile environment engross’, mesmerize and overloads the senses.

Decadent touches add to the flavour and contrast alongside the industrial backdrop. Objects sourced from around the world were hand picked to create a vision. Favorite features would be the engineered bespoke copper beer font. The rustic tin ceiling tiles sourced from a farm house in Normandy, the antique crystal chandeliers found in Paris, Industrial pendants from Eastern Europe factories and the elaborate ceiling which is composed of exposed joists and steel.

Challenges
The greatest challenges were the structural issues with the building, it was in a state of decay and structurally unsound. The building is also grade 2 listed which created its own unique problems. The interior was fully bespoke and the challenge was to make the new elements look original. The exposed ceiling and steel work was all new as were most the exposed brick walls, a high level of detailing and time went in to making these features look truly original and interesting.

Design results
The overall result is a stylish interior full of intrigue and creativity. The level of detail creates a depth and originality. The layout of the scheme allows for a high level of service even at peak times. The design compliments the operation and enhances the experience. The reaction from the public has been astonishing as the interior evokes an emotional response which was a key objective. The industrial elements alongside the glamorous features and finishes were a massive success and create a timeless interior design which has been received as a great achievement. The economic success has regenerated the local area and created a vibrant street full of life. Please To Meet You has truly achieved its goals with an inspirational and original interior design which helped regenerate an area and create public appreciation through its design.