In our latest interview in our A View From The Plinth series, Adam van den Bussche, restaurant and hospitality consultant for The Island Quarter project delivery team, talks about progress on Canal Turn and how the development presents a unique opportunity for the sector in Nottingham.
Adam said: “I joined the project about two years ago and at that stage there was a big masterplan and we were going to build a hotel as our first part of the project, which was going to sit right on the canal side.
“This site has got lots of history, as both part of the city and as an industrial location. It was just as we were starting to detail that design, we found there were quite a lot of hidden under surface pipes and pipelines. We decided we didn’t want to disturb those, and we moved the hotel back from the water side, right on the canal, and created a big public space – which we decided still needed filling.
“We decided to put Canal Turn here. The proposed design evolved into a mixed building of bar, restaurant and event space with a rooftop.
“When I joined the project, I was looking at the ways we could use hospitality – restaurants, bars, food and retail, to enliven the site and make sure all ground floor facades and frontages had something active going on.
“This was another nice problem to have. It’s a great riverside location for a restaurant.
“I worked in restaurants all my life and spent that last ten years designing and opening about 30 restaurants – not just in the UK but internationally as well. What’s exciting about this project is normally I am given an interior to fill but here we only had land and had to design the restaurant inside out. It was an interesting start with approximately 5000 square foot footprint and then to work out what we needed for storage, kitchens, bars and back of house and staff areas, as well as the staircases and all the nuts and bolts of how the building works.
“It’s a nice opportunity to create a building that comes together really well and so customers hopefully want to be able to naturally and intuitively navigate the building and find a way around.
“We’ve spent a lot of time making sure that we have the best aspects and views of the location we’re in, so wherever you sit you get to see the vista of where you are.
“We hired some amazing architects to help us develop the building and they drew in some of the history of the site. As the building unfolds you’ll see it draws inspiration of being a waterside location, an industrial location and a site where the railway once passed through, which we’ve tried to incorporate aspects from railway architecture into the building’s design.
“It’s a really unique looking building and once it’s built I think it’s going to be quite a big landmark coming into the city via the major route of London Road.
“It’s been designed so it becomes part of the fabric of the city quite quickly. It won’t look like it’s brand new it’ll look like it’s been here forever and has an element of patina and age to it.”