The dining hall of the Sketch Bar in London is not pink anymore

In the year of its 2oth anniversary , a big renovation took place at the second floor of the iconic restaurant in the heart of Mayfair.

And so, the trendiest club of the UK capital city said farewell to the monochromatic Millennial Pink, and welcome to the new vibrant shades of yellow.

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From pink to yellow, the restyling of the Sketch at Mayfair

The restyling of the brassierie/gallery, already called by some “Sunshine Yellow” has been made by India Madhavi, Iranian-French architect and interior designer.

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The London Sketch facade (courtesy of Sketch London / ph Jean Cazals)

A new chapter begins at Conduit Street 9, address of the Sketch since 2002.

From pink to yellow for the restaurant restyling by India Mahdavi

If anyone asked me what colour the new Sketch is, I would say warmth” Mahdavi said.

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For its 20th anniversary, Sketch London renovates the Gallery, entrusting for the second time architect India Mahdavi

After painting the Gallery pink in 2014, thinking of monochromy as an immersive art installation, in which shone the works of British artist David Shrigley, the architect has once more taken on the job for the Sketch.

And now she gave a warm turn at the Instagram-friendly look of the restaurant.

In this occasion, India Mahdavi worked alongside Nigerian artist Yinka Shobinare.

The spring afternoon tea at Sketch London

Appreciated food and art temple, the gallery has surprised everyone with a new trick, inaugurating a new era.

The Gallery of the iconic Mayfair restaurant says farewell to Millennial Pink

If you hang out on Instagram, you could be much likely to have seen at least once, the Hollywood pink of the Sketch London.

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Since 2014 and up to a few weeks ago, the Sketch Gallery was submerged in a “pink cloud” (courtesy of Sketch / ph Ed Reeves)

Until two weeks ago, celebrities and fashion enthusiasts were posting every spot of the location on social media.

They took pictures of the tables, the artwork on the walls, or the soft custom-made Charlotte armchairs.

If we want to know where the magic began, we must go back in time.

In February 2014, the owner of Sketch London, Mourad Mazouz, asked India Mahdavi to create a background for over 250 sketches by David Shrigley, hanged all over the walls of the Gallery.

It was entrusted to the artist to make a site-specific work in the dining hall of Sketch, as his biggest work ever displayed.

Within three months, Mahdavi found the right balance to the expressive power of Shringley’s works, adding velvet furniture and dusty shades.

Painting every inch of the big space to cover it under a pink cloud, Mahdavi gave new life to the brasserie staying true to its Avantgarde spirit.

Sketch London won a peculiar award, becoming the most instagrammed restaurant in the world.

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The Sketch Gallery before restyling (courtesy of Sketch London / ph Ryan & Robert)

For eight years, here, it has been like the customer participated in a movie.

Pink contrasts the place’s radicalism” commented the interior designer at the moment of her first work on the restaurant.

“In that male atmosphere, I had to stand in front of this cubic room and assert my vision: colour and kindness“.

African art and crafts open the new chapter of Sketch London

Modern Magic is the name of the installation by Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare, and it consists of thirteen works.

Among these, hand painted wooden masks and tapestries depicting African masks from the collection of Pablo Picasso.

The name of this display is self-explicative, given that the masks are replicas of the original ones used by African tribes to summon new power and that inspired the great Spanish painter.

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A piece of the new installation, Modern Magic, by Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare

Surrounding the works, the sunflower-yellow fabrics of the seats, by Senegalese designer Aissa Dione.

The relation with African art and craft continues thanks to the appliqués designed by Inès Bressand and made by hand by Ghana weavers.

For those who like to remember the past, there is a model in scale 1:10 of the old Sketch total pink.

Now, everything is turned in the shades of copper and gold.

The wall are covered with De Gournay wallpaper with a metal finish and champagne reflection, giving a golden light to the whole room.

The ceiling is painted in Mandarine au Lait, a new paint created by India Mahdavi.

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Sunflower yellow fabric, golden wallpaper and copper finishes on the ceiling

I didn’t want simply to change colour: it would have meant that colour isn’t relevant, that pink wasn’t significant” said the interior designer.

“Yinka’s work made me work differently, and now texture prevails over colour”

In the midst of this big change, also the menu and the mise en place have changed.

The most instagrammed restaurant in the world like Shahrazād: a long awaited restyling

Sketch London’s outfitting should have been biannual.

Or at least that was the intention of Mourad Mazouz, when eight years ago entrusted the Mahdavi-Shrigley duo with the restaurant decoration to continue the project of temporary food and art gallery.

According the the project, the room at the second floor was supposed to be ever-changing to host always new art forms.

The pink wave came two years after an installation by Martin Creed in 2012, of which there still remains the flooring, a big mosaic made of 96 different types of marble.

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The pink Interiors, works by David Shrigley and flooring by Martin Creed were the distinctive traits of the Sketch Gallery

But the pink interiors by Mahdavi remained way longer than the intended 24 months, while the works by Shringley were constantly replaced.

The reason is simple: India Mahdavi and David Shringley created such a media success that it was impossible to stop it.

Since the restyling has been long postponed, Mahdavi thinks at the Sketch Gallery as a kind of Shahrazād.

“I was really afraid to change the pink room, since David Shringley is part of the Sketch London” said the owner Mazouz.

But meeting Yinka Shonibare was decisive for a change of mind.

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The new Gallery of Sketch London

“Then they introduced me to Yinka Shonibare and I thought ‘Oh my, this Master wants to work with Sketch!’ It was like a dream. Yinka’s work is powerful and clever and I’m pleased to share it with visitors to Sketch London from all over the world.”

Restaurant, art gallery or club? The new age of a radical journey started 20 years ago

The story of the building is as fascinating as the restaurant itself.

Built in 1779 by English architect James Wyatt as the private residence of James Viner, the building hosted a fair number of societies and institutions.

According to some records, among the rooms of the future Sketch London came cyclists, hot air balloon enthusiasts and psychologists.

The building hosted the Suffragist Movement and between 1887 and 1909 it was the home of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), as it testifies the plaque at the entrance.

In the second half of the twentieth century it became the London atelier of Christian Dior, and it remained property of the brand until the nineties.

After some years of negligence, restaurant designer Mourad Mazouz and French chef Pierre Gagnaire gave new life to the place, opening the Sketch London.

Thanks to The Manser Practice architects, after four years of work, Sketch London opened its room with their typical atmosphere.

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Glade hall is an enchanted forest (courtesy of Sketch London – ph Ryan & Robert)

The Gallery is a symbol of the restaurant, but we must not forget the other rooms, from East Bar to Lecture Room & Library, from the Parlour to the enchanted forest of the Glade.

The famous retro toilets of the Sketch

Even the toilet is also original and artistic, with the retro-futuristic Pod Loos by sculptor and designer Noe Duchaufour-Lawrance.


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