The recently opened Piste Sandbach is much more than an excellent eatery – as Gemma Knight discovers, it’s also a perfect example of tasteful and tranquil interior design
Long-time devotees of Tarporley’s award-winning Piste Wine Bar and Restaurant were understandably delighted when the eatery announced it was to open a second site in Sandbach – but even they were pleasantly surprised by the vision which met their eyes at its official unveiling in April.
Taking its cue from its sister restaurant, launched in 2010, Piste’s Sandbach-based incarnation embodies Alpine luxury, artfully combining elements of old and new to create an utterly unique design motif. The building, which holds a Grade II-listed status, was transformed over a six-month period of extensive renovation – during which the kitchen was extended and new electrics and insulation installed. The design team were then able to work their magic, using a blend of raw, natural materials and soft, simple furnishings to produce a calm space that reflects the unique Piste ethos.
The lighting concept for the new restaurant is nothing if not striking, and certainly a perfect example of successfully executed statement design. Using antique wooden sledges suspended from the ceiling with traditional braided cable and filament bulbs, each lighting fixture was created on site and overflows with quirky charm. On tables, soft, simple, additional lighting comes in the form of candle-holding bottles – a chic, slightly bohemian aesthetic that never goes out of style.
The fixed seating in the restaurant continues to draw on a simple, luxurious-cum-rustic theme, with chairs covered in classic Shetland wool check, from the Roxburgh collection by British brand Linwood Fabrics, renowned for their quality pieces inspired by textile archives and produced in family-run mills. The stools, meanwhile, are upholstered in soft-brushed flint linens from the Geneva collection by Villa Nova, a brand known for its modern, versatile printed fabrics, decorative weaves, sheers and wallcoverings.
While the simple, natural design motif calls for a pared-down approach, the artwork selected to complement the restaurant’s design, which it does in an understated, authentic and well-integrated way. On the walls, diners will see a fascinating collection of antique snowshoes, ice skates, skis, antlers and cow bells, all sourced from a specialist in antique sportswear based on Portobello Road in London. There are also various framed vintage ski resort prints, and several reindeer hides, sustainably sourced from experts in Arctic regions as a bi-product of the Scandinavian meat industry, which provides a livelihood for many local families.
The colour scheme is of muted greys in various shades – an chic, minimalist choice which is easy on the eye and creates a perfect contrast to the bright warmth of the natural wood elements. Antique miscellanea is also put to practical use, with the wall of antique ski poles on raw sawn panelling and bar top of old snooker bed slates making for two striking examples.
Managing The Space
In order to create a fluid design which nevertheless allowed a demarcation of the bar and dining areas, unique divides – such as a rack comprised of pairs of antique skis – were created, separating the areas while keeping the venue feeling open and light, with diners benefiting from the bar atmosphere without it being intrusive.
Old Meets New
Perhaps the greatest strength of the design is its seamless interweaving of old and new elements, creating an inviting, informal feel that sacrifices neither authenticity nor comfort. The rustic wooden tables with their heavy industrial iron bases sit harmoniously with the glass-galleried staircase, while the combination of polished concrete and natural oak flooring gives a sleek, characterful finish.