BIBLOS, ST. WERBURGHS, BRISTOL
design and refurbishment of FUSION FOOD CAFE
Biblos is a well known independent restaurant/cafe brand in Bristol selling fusion Middle Eastern and Caribbean cuisine. Its original flagship cafe / takeaway is in St. Werburghs, Bristol. It had opened several years earlier quite quickly in an existing cafe and, having established it, the owners wanted to invest in having it refurbished to better suit their needs, their brand and the local bohemian community.
All existing furniture and fittings were ripped out and the whole space was redesigned to offer more covers, better working areas and better staff visibility of customers. It was fully rewired to meet a new lighting and electrics design with hygiene flooring and boards in a kitchen space redesigned to be more efficient and easier to clean.
The existing shop front was removed and replaced with trifold doors. A raised deck and fencing were built outside the shop front at the same level as the internal floor to offer the opportunity to create one single internal/external space in warmer weather.
Almost without exception, all carpentry and joinery utilised reclaimed materials. Internal booth seating and tables were created from three six metre long church pews. The pews were cut down and rejoined at angles to create seating in what is a very unusual-shaped space and upholstered. Tables were made from pew backs on reclaimed cast iron legs. Reclaimed, reupholstered pub stools were placed on the opposite side of the tables to allow flexibility of central space.
The front desk and counter were constructed from a plywood carcass and clad with reclaimed pitch pine floorboards and finished with a coloured wax. A new floor was laid across the inside and outside space. This was made of reclaimed scaffold boards, sanded and finished to be hard-wearing.
Internal walls were painted in Biblos colours with hand stencilling and some cleverly placed mirrors to make the space feel larger and lighter. The bathroom was also completely ripped out with a new suite installed and the space fully tiled with metro tiles and feature Middle Eastern style tiles.
Outside tables and benches were also made from reclaimed scaffold boards with adjusted reclaimed pub stools, all of which were finished to withstand weather. An internal table facing the front bifold doors was designed to be hinged and extendable into the outside space when the doors were open.
St. Werburghs is a very vibrant, passionate community and people were very supportive of us throughout the project, delivering regular hot drinks while we worked through the night in a cold January. When the business reopened, the community was thrilled and what had been predominantly a takeaway business has became a much loved cafe hangout with an increase in business.