James Roberts Design (JRD)
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Mana – Key design detail

The space
Architecturally this was a big box of concrete, steel and glass, the epitome of ‘new build’. Our challenge was to turn this huge man-made space into something that respected Mana’s ethos, and celebrated its ‘elemental forces of nature’.


We treated the space with reverence, almost as a place of worship, a cathedral in homage to nature. Maintaining its height yet darkening the walls and ceiling creating depth, and blurring the manmade uniformity of the original shell. The flowing curtains provide a soft, protective screen against the outside world, without shutting it out, and their gentle movements sway with life.


Purist mana. Simple, natural, core energy. Creating an introspective space of almost spiritual calm and life.


The energy
Energy is key to nature and life. Light is energy, Mana is energy. Lighting the space was quite possibly the most critical element of this interior. The subtle yet striking nature of the lighting design is its great strength.


The shafts of light that hang from the ceiling provide all the ambient light and all the task lighting required for every single table. Not only this but its form, the way it looks, provides the aerial definition of Mana energy, its life force.


The best design solutions are the ones that appear under-stated but over-deliver. When you consider everything this lighting design achieves, well, I personally think it’s the design element of the restaurant I’m most pleased with.


The comfort
This is always so important to get right, especially the seating. Because you sit on them, touch them, move them, look at them. When it comes down to chairs, I honestly believe only the highest standards will do.


Made from walnut, the beautifully crafted dining chairs display natural wooden forms, and leather seat pads and backs that complement the soft voile curtains. Sliding your hands up and down the smooth, silky arms, you can feel their innate quality. This feeling was an absolute requirement of the brief, and all credit to our client for trusting us in specifying them. It really paid off.


The finish
Finally, all surfaces and finishes needed to echo the very definition of Mana. Natural in nature, contrasting with the dramatic lighting.


The reflective mood we created, coupled with ambient music and exquisite cuisine courtesy of Simon Martin, an evening in Mana makes for an almost spiritual experience.


From dream to reality. James Roberts Design.