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We will rock you

Monique Nelson FX Magazine
We will rock you

Punk, in London’s Soho, serves up a heady cocktail of disco glam, shabby chic and Vegas kitsch courtesy of Rock Galpin Studio

PROJECT: Punk, London
DESIGNER: Rock Galpin at Rock Galpin Studio
CLIENT: The Breakfast Group
SIZE: 370 sq m
COST: £100,000
PROGRAMME: Six weeks

Centring on a theme of eclecticism, Soho’s new Punk bar is plastered with oversized prints, illuminated portraits and grand, extravagant furniture.

Rock Galpin led a design team from his own studio to bring a mixture of cabaret club and late-night venue to the West End.

The client wanted to attract the sort of crowd usually associated with Shoreditch, east London, so Galpin sought to rejig the ‘shabby chic’ style of that area and ‘re-package it to cater for the higher expectations of Soho’.

Mixing a ‘larger than life’ but still homely environment with a touch of disco glam, the concept was influenced by a Japanese aesthetic, particularly through the use of reds and the specially produced, large-scale, bespoke floral prints by Ella Doran that stretch along a 14 m wall.

The prints, Galpin says, are ‘an abstract take on flock wallpaper’, barely illuminated by downlights and mounted behind a collection of elaborate chaises longues, Chesterfield sofas and deep-buttoned winged armchairs.

Punk’s second-hand furniture is a challenge to those who like things coordinated. Vaguely French Renaissance in style, it sees rich leather sit alongside claret velvet devoré, gilded wood next to leopard print and rugs from Richmondbased Designer Carpets lying under low wooden tables.

While selecting furniture, Galpin was reminded of the stresses it was likely to undergo at the hands of Punk’s highspirited clientele, so he purchased domestic items with the strength of contract pieces.

The array of recessed spotlights across the ceiling is interspersed with beaded glass shades and lamps with fringed shades, and the cluster of Vegas-style mirrorballs are ‘on the verge of being kitsch’, says Galpin.

The DJ equipment is set up on original Chinese gold-leaf lacquered dressers adorned with storks. Beside the DJ booth and in other spots around the venue are displayed risqué portraits by photographer/ director David LaChapelle; highly pixellated with thousands of coloured dots, icons such as Sly Stone look down on the clubbers from backlit columns.


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