Little Black Door by Bishop Design - Mineheart's Interior Design Awards

9th Dec 2019

Little Black Door by Bishop Design - Mineheart's Interior Design Awards

A mix of classic and contemporary

 Designed by  Bishop Design

Designs used:  King Edison pendant lamp


The Client brief required the Interior to be a ‘gateway’ of expectation to the service and product all the while expressing a quiet confidence. The Interior was to be a mix of classic and contemporary, an Italian Milano’s gentleman’s living room combined with a New York speakeasy. “Speakeasy” has become a trendy term but “Living it Easy” even if only during the evenings is a source of refuelling. Comfort was to be a guarantee yet reflecting an Original Style. Lighting was to be classic yet contemporary with an urban touch. We were to create an “Urban Gentlemen’s Lounge” accessible to all, it was to be the contemporary evolution to what would otherwise be deemed a classic old-school watering hole if placed in another era. “The Lounge” is the true comprehensive manifestation of hospitality. It is not a bar, nor is it a restaurant, it is a merge of the two in one cohesive expression of an evening out. Little Black Door was to have an Atmosphere, which is a combination of a multitude of social and hospitality variables with its primary ethos both from an overall brand perspective and more specifically in relation to the interior design, product and service being a focus on “Urban Understated Elegance” - contemporary ideas based on historically successful hospitality foundations and social protocols.

The materials to be used were to be durable and cost-effective. Easy to maintain and/or touch up if necessary. They should evolve well with time and with the general expected wear and tear. It was a specific requirement that the materials in general especially tables should avoid being easily scratched, dented or marked. Similarly, the floor finishes should be such that the rigors of a busy night would not show any dirt or footprints and/or wear and tear.

The Interior oozes a ‘provocative exclusivity’ whilst full of atmosphere and a refreshing approach to the suggested “speakeasy,” accentuated through the finest of design touches inclusive of contemporary floor finishes such as Lindura and Senso, not to mention the alluring lighting features carrying the renowned Mineheart name, all allowing for an enhanced visual experience. Little Black Door is a place to ‘live it easy’ a source of refueling, a consistent necessity to carry on with the upcoming rigors of the next day. “What happens behind the Little Black Door, stays behind the Little Black Door” however, what the Interior looks like behind each door should have a different feeling worth being spoken about. The Interiors aesthetics evoke a somewhat ‘steam punk’ dynamic. Walls are adjourned with a combination of weathered plastered slip bricks, ornately cast concrete mouldings, intricately detailed wrought iron works juxtaposed with industrial elevator grates, natural stone clad columns which complement the exquisite chestnut claddings of the main/back bar counter. 

The Interior is a mix of classic and contemporary, an Italian Milano’s gentleman’s living room combined with a New York speakeasy with the soul of Kate Moss as its muse. She walks into the place, lights a cigarette and enjoys the libations of a martini as she stares at the photography. It has a colour palette of sumptuous earth tones, rustic bronze and predominate metals that demonstrate a connection with black and white photography that adorn the walls, whilst the lighting is ornate yet with an urban touch.

Nestled on the ground floor of the Conrad Hotel, comprising of 260 sqm, the venue is a refreshing departure from the city’s existing bevy of nightspots. The name Little Black Door, and the overall concept, was about wanting to create something understated and elegant and “Little Black Door” suited exactly what was wanted. Knock to enter, cross the threshold and you’re guaranteed a different experience – “a great night.” The experience starts, as you might guess, at the lounge’s imposing Black Door, while a rap of the Lotus Lion knocker grants guests access. Little Black Door is a ‘gateway’ of expectation to the service and product all the while expressing a quiet confidence.

We find the interior to be unique to the region, current and refreshing in its use of the specified Interior finishes and design styling. We consider the Interior aesthetics to be exciting and evocative whilst offering an eclectic intoxicating mix of comfort, intriguing surface textures and a diversifying use of materials urban and raw, yet elegantly sophisticated, all culminating in the creation of the venues ‘original style’.

Taking into consideration the requests as outlined in the Client brief, the budget given for this project was in the region of USD $ 750,000 which was distributed more or less evenly but with more emphasis on the statement finishes and key component items within such as the lighting, furniture, bar and sound-proofing.

The design is nothing short of a decadent mix of a cheeky discrete staircase; diverse elegant tables; candlelit fireplaces; Venetian patterned carpet rugs; naughty story-worthy powder rooms; classic backlight London bar lighting; a crystal whiskey decanter lite hallway; a copper rose-gold bar; and the numerous custom made metal crystal chandeliers, the latter of which best articulates the conceptualization of “Urban Understated Elegance”.

Little Black Door, also known as LBD, is made from experiences.

Based on the overall premise of “Urban Understated Elegance”, Little Black Door prides itself on detailed aesthetics, quality materials and ambiance with a DJ booth centering the bar. It is clearly evident that music is a focus and with a ceiling covered by recording studio sound-proofing; it is signal to the patrons that Little Black Door is prepared to accommodate wherever the beat levels may go - “It’s where Brooklyn meets Vienna.”

“In addition to describing its style and material ethos so that Paul’s mind could ride his own wave of ‘creativity and naughtiness’’. The Client was emphatic in stating that “In addition to Paul’s immense design credentials; it was his ability to add the right element or originality, quirk and especially raw cosmopolitan authenticity, which very few Interior Designers can match, which was a blessing to the project.’’ 

Although avoiding any reference to the over-commercialized “Speak Easy” concepts that have flooded the hospitality market over the last decade, Little Black Door still exercises great discretion with no signage and limited marketing promotion amongst friends and regular patrons. With a black door, which is anything but little, its signature Lotus Lion door-knocker is its sole emblem of arrival as the client believes that “word of mouth” is the most honest form of brand growth.


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