Originally built in 1886, New Plymouth’s iconic White Hart Hotel is the talk of the town after developers Harvey Dunlop and Jeremy Thompson undertook seriously needed restoration work to bring the old hotel back from the brink. With plenty of insight and clever design, Dunlop and Thompson have transformed the hotel from a dilapidated mess into an upmarket complex that includes a range of complementary businesses. The redeveloped structure is impressive and features a quality women’s fashion outlet; an extended Snug Bar; Plantation – a conceptual landscape design business; a first-class extension to the King and Queen Hotel Suites and The Public Catering Company - a bakery and eatery that features eye catching use of art deco style blocks from Firth’s Solar Screen Block range.
Before deciding on a plan of action for their new space, The Public Catering Company co-owners Jo Eliason and Deb Seddon brought in Mike Marshall, owner of TwoPointZeroDesign, specialists in the design of bars, restaurants and commercial interiors, to come up with a design that would give them ‘something different’.
“When Jo and Deb briefed me on what they wanted for their new eatery they said they wanted something unique and not just ‘café’,” explains Mike.
With a polished concrete floor, gantries of lights and timber finishes to soften the industrial feel of the space, Mike chose Firth’s Solar Screen blocks, painted white, for the base of the serveries to add the wow factor.
“As the Public Catering Company makes food from scratch I wanted to use something that represented a crafted, natural process,” says Mike. “These blocks are manufactured from basic concrete and were in use a lot in the 50’s and 60’s. For me they are reminiscent of an era of baking and cooking.”
When asked why a variety of different block patterns were used - in no particular order - Mike explains, “when you bake biscuits or muffins you put them in the oven and they all look the same. After they come out of the oven they all look a bit different, but they’re actually still the same.”
Mike is very happy with his design and loves how it has turned out. “The Public Catering Company is a nice addition to this new boutique precinct. It's a really cool place to hang out. It’s worth going to have a look and, while you’re there, try the Crème Brulee donuts - they are the best.”
Firth Solar Screen Blocks have been on the market for over 30 years and their art deco appeal is making a comeback along with a number of trends from the 50’s and 60’s. This unique architectural block separates and defines space and creates openness. They are a decorative, yet functional block which provides excellent protection from the sun’s heat and glare, at the same time allowing welcoming breezes to pass through.
Solar Screen Blocks are often used in commercial projects for stairwells and parking garages. They are also popular for residential use in property boundary walls, feature walls, privacy screens and garages.
All images credit TwoPointZeroDesign