The Blues Kitchen has opened in Brixton, London offering a proven formula of late night live music, authentic BBQ and an amazingly large selection of bourbons. Located in what was once the old Electric Social premises, the cavernous ground floor space is dominated by a flamboyant faience-fronted, ceramic tiled bar, which has been designed and hand-manufactured by specialist tile company Craven Dunnill Jackfield. This contemporary installation of Victorian styled ceramic tiles breathes new life into this traditional art form and highlights the practicality of ceramics in a bar environment.
The faience tiled bar stretches 10 metres long and is set off against a back-drop of white and blue brick shaped ceramic tiles and amber dados, which define interspersed, arched recessed areas. The venue promotes its own BBQ and drink specialities by writing on the glazed tiles, which can easily be wiped clean and fresh adverts promoted.
The faience tiles, at the front of the bar, date back to the 1880’s in style and are hand-made at Craven Dunnill Jackfield’s works up in Shropshire. There are five different designs of tile, which both clad the bar and five floor-to-ceiling pillars. Each of the central, large, green tiles measure 245x 600mm and are convex, weighing around 10kg each. The deeply textured relief design dates to the late 19th century and features a repeating urn motif, which is bordered by four styles of decorative dado tiles in blue and amber. The same designs are featured on the 2.5m tall pillars, which are capped with deep capital tiles, decorated with an acanthus leaf design.
Craven Dunnill Jackfield employs a unique team of expert ceramists, acclaimed for their specialist knowledge and experience. The relief tiles are made using hand carved plaster moulds and decorated with metal oxide glazes, which craze upon firing to create an authentic aged effect. For the large tiles, featuring the urns, each required 200g of glaze to achieve the desired depth of colour and took two people to dip the pieces into a large vat of glaze. These were then gently lifted and carefully stacked into the kilns and fired over night at 1040 degrees Celsius.
The Blues Kitchen is part of the Colombo Group and this is the third such venue to open. It is known for its live Blues, Soul and Bluegrass music, Texan BBQ food and wide range of bourbons and cocktails. The interior style is eclectic, successfully combining Moroccan styling with contemporary textiles, commemorative stained glass windows and extensive reclaimed materials.
This is the second fully tiled bar that the Columbo Group has commissioned, each time working closely with the specialist tile manufacturing team at Craven Dunnill Jackfield who have brought back age old Victorian tradition of fully tiled ceramic bars.