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Bob Bob Cité, London

Interior design studio, BradyWilliams reveals the design of the ‘brasserie for the 21st century.’

Five years in the making, Bob Bob Cité finally opened to the public on Friday 10th May. Interior design studio, BradyWilliams, was delighted to reveal the design of the much-anticipated ‘brasserie for the 21st century.’ IC&D Spec editor Can Faik talked to Leonid Shutov, the owner of Bob Bob Cité and sibling restaurant and Soho institution Bob Bob Ricard...

Set in the landmark Leadenhall Building by acclaimed architects Rogers Stark Harbour + Partners, Bob Bob Cité is the only premium restaurant space in the development and is suspended 30m above the atrium. A true collaboration between Leonid Shutov and Shayne Brady, Bob Bob Cité is inspired by key elements of the original Bob Bob Ricard design while creating a completely new vision. Minimalist in approach, the finishing and execution gives a contemporary twist to maximalist design. Inspired by 21st century design and future aviation travel, Bob Bob Cité is a space unlike any other, not only in the City of London but in the world.

The main restaurant is comprised of a blue and red room with 264 covers, while a key feature is the three private dining rooms, each hosting eighteen guests. Each room boasts a personal anteroom for a standing drinks reception prior to dining, and when space is at a premium in London, this level of elevated experience is the ultimate luxury.

With the costs estimated to be in the region of £25million, the combined effect of very best in craftsmanship and materials is akin to stepping on board a mega yacht, or one of the luxurious early-twentieth century Zeppelin airships: no detail has been overlooked.

In the largest single project ever undertaken by Warwickshire-based, family-owned specialist joiners Stan Tarver, the rosewood marquetry panelling for all walls and ceilings has been crafted off-site and installed as complete pieces to ensure a level of precision that cannot be achieved with on-site fabrication. Royal warrant-holders Dernier & Hamlyn have created the eight hundred-plus bespoke light fittings, twenty-four of them chandeliers, requiring in total over one thousand two hundred light bulbs. Bespoke banquette seating, covered in beautifully tactile leather from Andrew Muirhead & Son in Glasgow, has been made by Noble Russell of Rutland.

Twelve-and-a-half kilometres of mirror-polish steel trim, weighing over five-and-a-half tons, accent the Japanese book-binding-paper-clad wall panels throughout the restaurant. All are held in place by a total of forty-eight thousand hand-polished ‘snake eye’ bolts. The weight of these bolts alone is such that a separate structural assessment had to be undertaken to ensure that the floor plate could support the load.

The now famous and instantly recognisable ‘Press for Champagne’ button is back but this time with a contemporary and French twist, ‘Pressez pour le Champagne’. In an ode to its location in the City of London, tickertape wraps not only the façade of the restaurant but also internally in all dining rooms. When ‘Pressez pour le Champagne’ is activated, the table number is illuminated throughout the space. 

Five minutes with...

Leonid Shutov, Owner

What is the story behind the Bob Bob brand
Restaurants have been an interest and a passion for me all my life. And in 2008 they also became my profession when I opened my first restaurant - Bob Bob Ricard in Soho. My second restaurant - Bob Bob Cité in the City of London - is the embodiment of everything I’ve learned about restaurants over the last decade. 

Have you noticed any particular trends in restaurant interior design?
Trends come and go. We tend to ignore them to focus on creating interiors of enduring value, something that will still be of merit and of interest ten years from now. 

How important do you feel restaurant design has become when launching a new restaurant?
It has always been important and remains an essential part of the customer experience. 

Your latest opening Bob Bob Cité has an impressive lighting scheme, which stands out from any other restaurant, what was your thoughts behind this?
Lighting schemes these days are often simplistic and rely on off-the-shelf solutions. We really wanted to create something unique and luxurious, which you rarely find these days outside the world of extreme luxury - such as superyachts. 

What are the most challenging issues you are facing on your current job?
It is the sheer complexity of our design and the inter relationship of every little detail - the 48,000 of hand-polished ‘snake-eye’ bolts holding everything together, the 12.5 kilometres of metal trims finishing every edge, the 800 bespoke light fittings and 1200 light bulbs… 

What other exciting projects do you have in the pipeline?
We will see. For now, our focus is to make Bob Bob Cité the best that it can be. But we also have plans to re-build Bob Bob Ricard to give it more scale and some outdoor space. 

What would be your dream restaurant project
That’s easy - I already have two: Bob Bob Ricard and Bob Bob Cité.

Leonid Shutov, Owner
Leonid Shutov, Owner