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07 Dec 2018

Rolling stone: Neolith's sintered porcelain bar voyages across Europe

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Design Command’s touring bar for Neolith is taking to the road to show off the material’s versatile aesthetic

Mobile spaces seem to be in vogue. The latest iteration to join the crew is Neolith’s Food & Roll, a mobile kitchen and cocktail bar, which launched in Verona in late September this year and has since embarked on a tour across Europe. Designed by London-based interior architecture studio Design Command, the converted truck is a showroom on wheels set to demonstrate the versatility of the Neolith sintered porcelain surface.

“We wanted visitors to have a fun brand experience and give life to their own design ideas through the many options available with Neolith surfaces,” says the materials brand, which drew inspiration from its Tiny House project in 2016-17, where a compact mobile house toured North America.

2393 NEOLITH FOODROLL 036The material is on walls, ceiling and surfaces of the pop-up.

This time, it wanted to focus on the dining experience, so it approached a studio with extensive experience in this sector. “We were tasked to come up with a design that used as many Neolith finishes as applicable,” says Cathrine Lampa, creative director at Design Command, whose initial reaction was to utilise as much space as possible by opening up the container. With 13.4sq m of internal space, the architects decided to use the outdoor space to “maximise the truck’s potential”.

As for the material, everywhere from floor, wall and ceiling to counter tops, basins and cupboard fronts is clad in sintered stone. It shines on the truck’s facade as well as the bespoke stackable cubed seating crafted for the outdoor seating area Because of its mobile nature, Design Command’s approach involved building in flexible spaces whereby the “external walls play a dual role depending on whether the venue is parked or in transit”.

The team also faced challenges with the weight of the slabs. “We went all out with our original design and then scaled back to meet the needs of a mobile venue,” says Lampa. “When specifying slabs for the doors, we had to make sure they wouldn’t interfere with the mechanism. While our original plans specified 6mm thick slabs, we had to change this to 3mm so the weight of the slabs wouldn’t be a problem.”

2393 NEOLITH FOODROLL 013The mobile bar opens up to maximise the Neolith surfaces.

Design Command has several projects under its belt, be it offices, hotels or bars and restaurants. Having recently completed offices
for Landmark Space in London and Wildwood Rushden Lakes – a restaurant in the Northamptonshire shopping centre – Lampa believes the sectors are starting to merge.

“Workplaces are starting to take on a more hospitality or residential aesthetic as employers are increasingly putting a greater emphasis staff wellbeing. On the other hand, as flexible working is becoming more popular, people are starting to take their work to more public venues, such as restaurants or cafes.”

She concludes: “Some have chosen to take advantage of this, with dedicated workspaces beginning to pop up across hotels and restaurants. With these facilities on offer, it makes working on the go much easier, helping drive busy customers to the hospitality sector.”

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