From Bank to Bottle
I was talking to a friend some time ago and he was telling me, having not been to Swansea for some time, his dismay having walked down Wind street in the rain to go to his bank only to discover the cashiers had been replaced by barmaids and the only way of putting money over the counter is to buy a drink! Some of the biggest customers for reclamation and architectural salvage companies these days are from the licensing trade. With more and more new pubs, hotels and café bars opening everywhere and older pubs being refurbished all makes for a busy time. But gone are the days of just buying a couple of old pews and re-polishing the brassware behind the bar, as more designers and architects are opting for the bespoke look and combining traditional materials with newer minimalist clean cut design.. There doesn’t seem to be any rules either. Who says antique wood looks out of place beside highly polished stainless steel? Also changing the original use of some materials to fit in with new designs.
A good example of this is the Café Valance in the Mumbles which boasts a bar made from reclaimed church pew panelling with Victorian quarry tiles as the counter top – from Victorian footsteps to coffee cups! But we must not forget the more traditional bar designs as well, a lot of pubs and clubs were modernised in the 70’s and 80’s with fitted seating, padded bar fronts and plastic coated table tops abound. These are now being refurbished and taken back to their former ‘country pub’ appearance.
Again to mention one such pub is the Globe Inn in Loughour. There they have exposed walls to reveal hidden fireplaces removed carpets to find pine floorboards, which then have been waxed. Again the use of pews and chapel chairs stand along side various old tables to give a very traditional look.
Of course lets not forget the fact that every reclaimed item has a story to tell , always a good talking point anywhere. Doors from ships, granite counters from long-gone gents outfitters and perhaps a Lectern more used to holding a bible now supports the booking diary in some restaurant the possibilities are endless.
We supply many new projects in the Swansea area and indeed from London to the USA and I am constantly surprised by some of the uses found by some younger, perhaps more controversial architects and designers. But as I say there are no rules with the re-use of reclaimed items.
So next time you go into a pub or other drinking establishment give a little glance around and see if you can identify a little piece of the past hidden amongst today’s décor.