The Mess Hall

It took me two visits to decide if the Mess Hall left an impression on me and it was on my second visit that I understood why it had, simplicity.

The Mess Hall Bar
The Mess Hall Bar

This space is not big, it’s long and narrow and in the foreground you’re greeted by a short ceramic tiled bar. The height is important because its welcoming rather than being tall and stand offish. Further along there are chairs and tables for diners and in the background, highlighted by a light well, is the kitchen where you can glimpse the cooking activity.  This is a two storey establishment and the predominant line is horizontal which works to create the relaxed and ‘messy’ atmosphere of a traditional mess hall.  Although, just before the kitchen you’ll find a vertical garden, which draws the eye up to the light well and the staircase to the second floor.

White is the predominant colour and although white can be cold; it works here with the warm textures. The key elements that support the colour scheme are the white ceramic tiled bar and the white textured wall, which is a subtle but interesting feature.

Predominant textures are glass, wood and metal, found in the recycled school chairs. These combine well mainly due to the school chairs evoking a sense of nostalgia to offset the coldness of the white and ensure the space is welcoming and lively.

The Mess Hall Entrance
The Mess Hall Entrance

There is plenty of natural light provided by the folding windows at the entrance and the light well in the rear of the space. Artificial light is presented well in equally interesting metal, basket like pendants.  Balance is achieved through simple spatial planning whereby the table settings work within the existing line and shapes of the space. The repeated use of key elements such as the colour white and the wooden and metal textures also work to ensure the space is balanced.

However, the Mess Hall serves predominantly Italian food, therefore I found a disconnect between the name of this eatery and the aeroplane branding used sparingly, I’m sure there’s a story behind it but it’s not obvious to the diners.

Simplicity is the key in this space which shows that with simple textures and a basic colour scheme, a space can be harmonious, proving the old adage that less is more.

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