Firebird is a new project by Madina Kazhimova and Anna Dolgushina, founders of Wong Kar Wine and Made in China, in Soho, one of London's busiest areas. The concept of the restaurant is a simple approach to preparing Mediterranean dishes from farm products in the authentic interpretation, with a focus on the freshness of ingredients and product quality. The restaurant's menu is based on open-fire dishes, complemented by an extensive wine list with particular attention paid to natural and biodynamic wines from small farms around the world.
The main challenge for us was to create a unique space. Cosy lighting and relaxed atmosphere, together with the right ingredients, music and light, would transport guests to sunny Mediterranean regions, creating a sense of celebration and anticipation of new and interesting things to come. We strived to make Firebird unlike any other restaurant in the city, using bold design solutions.
This is the first project in London for both, our team and Madina and Anna, so the location of the project was a major innovation. First of all, we were very inspired by Soho, an area known for its non-stop nightlife, an area where you can meet all kinds of people.
The restaurant is located in a historic building and is a classic central London narrow and elongated space, the geometry of which was sometimes difficult but very interesting to work with. We got a very picturesque base with a touch of history which we have decided to preserve as part of the restaurant's image - under layers of plasterboard. There are also concrete beams and old walls with many layers of different paint and plaster.
Firebird's dark olive facade stands out on the Poland Street and blends in beautifully with the noble brick of the street's buildings. Once inside, guests are welcomed into a minimalist space, shaped in the image of a house, with a kitchen and hearth in the centre and a secluded courtyard in the back.
At the entrance, the guests face a contact bar, where they can have aperitifs while waiting for their table or spend a relaxing evening enjoying food, drinks, and chatting with the bartenders.
Behind the contact bar, in the centre of the restaurant, the heart of the space can be found - an open kitchen and the grill; this allows the visitors to watch the magic of cooking over an open fire.
Moving on, the guests enter the main hall of the restaurant, which takes them to the courtyard of a Greek or Italian villa. The entrance is through shutter doors, and the dominant feature of the space is the overhanging pergola. Combined with olive trees, leaf shadows, marble, and the irregular perimeter of the walls, it brings associations with the Mediterranean courtyard. An oak bench sofa, plank tables, dripping candles on the shelves, and elements of vintage furniture complete the light southern look.
We have strived to use a minimum of materials and architectural techniques, using only the sharpest and most expressive solutions, which, combined with careful lighting design, has allowed us to create a space that lets you to immerse yourself in the relaxed atmosphere of sunny southern European regions and a wonderful adventure in pleasant company.
The terracotta ceramic tiles combined with subtle stainless-steel elements and the strict geometric volumes of the white planes create a striking contrast, emphasising the textures of the natural materials and the technology of the kitchen, while the warm spotlight combined with the textiles adds a sense of cosiness and seclusion.