Trade reclaims desire for design

Demand for vintage furniture driven by current trends and economy

Wood you believe it: Burns Interior Design’s recent trade projects include the Clachaig Inn, Glencoe.

RECLAIMED and second-hand furniture is being used in a growing number of bar and restaurant refurbishments.

And it seems the drive to recycle is as much a design trend as a by-product of the economic climate.
Design firms contacted by SLTN last week said the use of refurbished and reclaimed items in bars has been driven by a growing appetite for all things vintage – and operators keeping an eye on budgets.
“There is a trend towards a more stripped-back look; re-using existing furniture and second-hand light fittings,” Ronnie Burns of Burns Interior Design told SLTN.
“I think the economic conditions have influenced this trend but there is also a general move towards second-hand and recycled furniture.”
It’s a view shared by Scott McIntyre, of Broughty Ferry-based Nicoll Russell Studios.
“Some projects tend to be budget-driven with the emphasis on refurbish and re-use,” he said.
“We are specifying a lot of salvaged and reclaimed light fittings – partly for cost and partly a current trend.”
David Gibbon, director of Edinburgh-based design firm GLM, said many operators are refurbishing outlets and expanding in a “measured and controlled manner”.
“We recently refurbished a pub on a tight budget,” he said.
“The result was stylish but it was done with second-hand furniture, things picked up from eBay and generally a lot of ‘bang for the buck’.”
Although many operators are keeping a keen eye on budgets, it seems there’s no shortage of bar, restaurant and hotel refurbishments in the Scottish trade.
Burns, who is working with Arran Brewery on its inaugural craft beer pub in Glasgow, and recently completed work on La Vita Group’s new Piccolino e Vino restaurant in Newton Mearns and the Clachaig Inn in Glencoe, said operators can reap the rewards from refreshing a venue’s interior, particularly in the current economic climate.
“Investment is vital because customers will vote with their feet,” he said.
“Rather than doing a full-blown refurbishment, some operators are working with the existing structure and adding new furniture and lighting to keep the place looking fresh.
“There’s not a great appetite for banks to lend to businesses in the leisure sector.
“I’m not saying it’s not tough but there are good operators out there doing well and we’re still seeing new bars and hotels opening and existing outlets being refurbished.”
McIntyre at Nicoll Russell Studios, whose recent projects include The Stag in Aberdeen, underlined the importance of regular investment.
“Pubs generally have a shelf-life of around five years before they need freshened up,” he said.
“You can make a big difference on a budget and every little helps to stop a place looking tired.
“Operators that are going for a total renovation are seeing the biggest turnaround when they launch, as customers will always be drawn to a new pub, initially for a look. If the offer is current, fresh and well-designed they will end up staying.”
Angus Alston at Hugh Stirling said operators continue to have a “cautious attitude” towards development work.
“However, as some of our recent projects for Belhaven, Wetherspoon and Snow Factor at Xscape have proved, there are still significant opportunities out there for both the development of existing and creating new licensed businesses,” he said.

Image – Wood you believe it: Burns Interior Design’s recent trade projects include the Clachaig Inn, Glencoe.