Pierre Bistrot, a corner of France in the UK
The Pierre Bistrot restaurant chain, founded in 1994 by Robert Beacham and his childhood friend John Whitehead, combines a retro flavour with an Anglo-French style. After opening the first restaurant in Nottingham, the chain now boasts restaurants in some of the most traditional towns in the UK, from the Midlands to the North, as well as recent openings in the South West. Today there are a total of 14 restaurants, with two more opening this year and another two in 2017. The chain offers traditional French cuisine such as steak-frites, beef Bourguignon, tarte flambée, bouillabaisse, paté de campagne, crème brûlée and other delicacies in sophisticated, elegant settings. The restaurant in Bath, the thirteenth, is situated in a typical early nineteenth-century Georgian house in George Street. The conversion project was assigned to Devon, UK-based architects Gillespie Yunnie in cooperation with the interior designers from Charles Evans Shopfitters and stylist Holly Keeling, who chose ceramic tiles from Marca Corona for the floor coverings.
Converting the historic home into a Pierre Bistrot involved carrying out conservative restoration of several rooms to maintain the original characteristics of the house while installing decorations, accessories and surface coverings to recreate the warm, welcoming atmosphere of a bistro.
The challenge was far from simple given that the house was a listed property and the work required continuous negotiations.
Jackie Gillespie, cofounder of Pierre Bistrot, described the Bath project as « one of the most complex in terms of conservation and protection ». All work had to be authorised by the relevant authorities and no substantial structural alterations were permitted.
The architects focused on four areas of the Georgian house: the front section with the bar counter, the central area, the rear section with the kitchen (which was moved from the rear and opened up to facilitate access and to allow customers to watch the chefs at work) and the dining area, which was kept as close as possible to the original style and decorations.
The floor covering was also chosen to maintain the historic feel of the place. Old tiles selected from Marca Corona’s historical archives were redesigned in a contemporary vein with shapes, geometries and patterns that would satisfy the needs of the architects and owners.
The choice fell on the Terra porcelain tile collection, which according to the company « restores the original decorative taste and makes it contemporary ».
The Stella F accent coupled with natural wood was chosen for the decorative « carpet » in the main room and adjacent areas. The bathrooms were completely tiled using the Astro F accent.
Large lanterns and lamps served to light the long, narrow space reserved for the bar area, which has a large wooden counter and tall dark red leather padded chairs. The light in the spacious restaurant area filters in through the large roof windows, while the colour white has been chosen for the partially wood-panelled walls. Warm coloured wood coffee tables and leather sofas complete the room’s furnishings. Gold-framed mirrors, French prints and blackboards hang on the walls. Bon appétit!
Marca Corona, Terra collection
20x20cm ed esagona 25x21,6cm
Stella F and Astro accents
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): ≤ 0,1%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): UA
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): ≤ 150 mm3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): ≥ 45 N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R9
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant