Park Row, Soho’s latest fine-dining concept, is cleverly peppered with DC Comics references throughout. Its lighting scheme, designed by Nulty, skillfully highlights the various narratives told within this bold new 18,000 sq ft timeless realm of Gotham, with interiors designed by Ab Rogers.
An illuminated sign above the door and a Wayne family crest on the pavement are the only indications of the mysterious world inside. The foyer, ‘Wayne Manor’ is a moody, ‘gentleman’s club’ style room with hints of royal blue and mahogany. Picture lighting attracts the eye to the portrait of Batman’s father and to the carefully-chosen Gotham-esque objects on the joinery bookshelves.
A secret entrance through the bookshelf leads to the Batcave, a deep, black stairwell lit by an imposing 10m long central chandelier made by Nulty Bespoke, some carefully placed blacked-out pendant lights and discreet spotlights allowing visitors to descend the two storiess to the main hospitality areas. The chandelier consists of 25 transparent discs balanced within a twisting helical structure.
Each 400mm disc edged with LEDs light up in a pulsating sequence, referencing the echolocation frequency ability of bats, resonating through the space. A dramatic neon light within the ceiling coffer at the bottom of the stairs teamed with a wall of mist, marks the transition from Batcave to an uber-glamorous world of cocktails, dining and entertainment.
The space is designed as a series of bars and restaurants on ‘Park Row’ a notorious street in Gotham’s dark history. The main area consists of four separate bars, a stage area and two enclosed spaces – each with their own distinctive design and atmosphere.
Nulty’s Creative Director, Dan Blaker explains “we needed to deliver a lighting scheme that sensitively reinforced the DC Comics world, and crucially, respected the historic interiors of the building. The internal fabric of the building is listed and uniform throughout, so our first job was to carefully upgrade the Art Deco-style lighting within the walls, pillars and ceiling. The lighting system across the whole space is now totally versatile and can be changed according to the time of day or what’s happening in the space. After that we added the details to tell each room’s story.”
In Pennyworth’s Bar, sophisticated brass-colored table lamps perch on every table and the central bar is lit beneath the counter highlighting the blue surface beneath. LED strips tucked within the sides of the gold leaf inlayed pillars help add to the warm glow of the space. On the left, is the Rogue’s Gallery where ‘stolen’ paintings are lit by brass picture lights. Hidden LEDs illuminate the playful scalloped pink surface of the bar, echoing the original scalloped glass ceiling fixtures. On the right-hand side is the private dining room consisting of floor to ceiling projector screens, creating a 360 degree, visually immersive experience.
Towards the back of the grand space is the Iceberg Lounge, where seafood is the dining focus and a central sculpture of a penguin in a top hat and bow tie (representing one of Batman’s archrivals) towers above the bar, is lit from below. Nulty specified clear glass plinth lights for the tables reflecting the ice theme of the space.
A dark and ominous speakeasy-style room named Old Gotham City has a totally different feel from the rest of Park Row. Illumination comes from the seedy-feeling neon wall lights, a few dark pendants, burlesque-like feather floor lights and picture lights. Nearby, the neon is carried through into the restrooms.
Nulty is a leading-edge lighting design consultancy working with some of the world’s foremost architects and interior designers. Collaboration and teamwork is at the heart of its practice; improving life through light, no matter what the scale, is its goal. A Nulty project is defined by its originality and attention to detail.