Tom Dixon shines a new light on the Strand

The British designer's latest interior project fuses whimsical elements with a sleek, modern edge - and more than a few lighting fixtures


From Sketch's quirky artist-conceived interiors to Tramshed, whose hall is dominated by a giant Damien Hirst piece, there are many dining destinations that are as much a feast for the eyes as for the taste buds. Bronte, which overlooks Trafalgar Square, joins this roster of restaurants intended to impress, with interiors created by architectural design firm Design Research Studio (DRS) under the direction of its founder, Tom Dixon.

Bronte is Dixon's first standalone restaurant since Eclectic in Paris, and follows in a line of other high-profile eateries designed by DRS, including Sea Containers at Mondrian London, Tom Dixon Sandwich at Harrods and RA Restaurant at the Royal Academy. For Bronte, the British designer has taken inspiration from the Strand's history, with a whimsical theme inspired by Victorian explorers, collectors and miscellany, expressed in his trademark sleek, modern aesthetic.

A neutral backdrop is used as a counterpoint to the space's most impactful features, including a pink-concrete breakfast bar, green-granite kitchen and pewter cocktail bar, alongside custom-made green-leather booths.

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Drawing on the concept of a cabinet of curiosities, exhaustive collections of objects spanning natural history, archaeology, geology and more line the walls, the assemblage of items tailored to give each area of the restaurant a distinct identity.

As is to be expected, the use of light - both natural and electrical - is key to the restaurant's design. The Regency-era building features an arched glazed façade, bathing the space in light, leading from the terrace into the double-height dining space with mezzanine level. Dixon's signature pendants hang over the dining booths; the Fade's metallised colours are a nod to the heat and smoke rising from the kitchen, which serves Pacific/Antipodean cuisine. Elsewhere, the soft light from a grid of Plane wall lamps nestled in the ceiling coving adds to the relaxed ambience - this is indeed an all-day dining escape from the bustle of central London.

TOM DIXON is a self-taught British designer, whose eponymous company specialises in lighting, furniture and accessories. Dixon launched the interior and architectural design studio Design Research Studio ( in 2007. Bronte, 1-3 The Strand, WC2;

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