Planning permission has been sought for a new restaurant in London's Soho intended to reflect the DC Multiverse.
Soho has been a central restaurant area for centuries. Many small and easily affordable restaurants and cafes were established in Soho during the 19th century, particularly as a result of Greek and Italian immigration. The restaurants were not looked upon favourably at first, but their reputation changed at the start of the 20th century, as new restaurants and bars blossomed alongside artforms such as cinema, blues, jazz, rock'n'roll, stand-up comedy, advertising and pornography.
It is now home to many famous restaurants, is where many chains began and is full of private members dining/drinking clubs – including my own, Blacks, on Dean Street. And it is where the world has traditionally come, bringing their own cuisine with them, only to mash it up with others, fused into new forms.
And now DC Comics is popping by, with DC World taking over Mash on Brewer Street, close to Piccadilly Circus. The planning application, which goes out of its way to convince that the restaurant will preserve the Art Deco designs of its previous architect Oliver Bernard and The Titanic Bar it used to be.
The proposed design continues the use of the space as a high-end restaurant. The restaurant will be rooted within the DC Multiverse, taking visitors on a culinary adventure through the many fictional Universes famous for their superhero residents such as Batman, Superman and Wonderwoman. The style and design of the DC Multiverse is heavily influenced by the Art Deco period with the style prominent within its publications and film and television work. The restaurant will not be a 'theme park' with literal sets and costumes from the franchise, but it has the intention to invite guests to experience the DC Universe without breaking the fourth wall- the imaginary wall that separates the audience from the performance.
Reflecting Oliver Bernard's work, the design will be a contemporary interpretation of the Art Deco period. This approach will evoke a sense of atmosphere prevalent in DC and the Titanic Bar without resorting to pastiche, encapsulating the Art Deco ethos of endless possibilities- progression and forward movement of time.
The central nave consists of 5 bays and houses the main entrance into the space. The proposed design will accommodate a lounge Bar (Pennyworth's) and a dining area with entertainment- reminiscent of the 1930s era (Iceberg Lounge). The North Nave – a fine dining experience (Dichotomy Fine Dining) and the South Nave (an Immersive Dining Experience) are proposed as separate, intimate dining experiences. Each zone will have a distinct typology – offering, identity, materiality, volume and density- united by a desire to be modern as per Art Deco style. Diagram illustrating the proposed zoning and different dining experiences.
Before entering the building, to create a sense of intrigue inspired by DC and the secrecy of prohibition bars, the existing windows on Brewer Street and Sherwood Street, as indicated on the plan, will have Screens located behind to convey an Art Deco living room masking the modern staircase behind.
The entrance will resemble the Wayne Manor pit seen in the Dark Knight movies, and The Arkham Asylum dining area will be at the back of the building, serving street food…
I mean, I'll have to pop by, won't I? It's just round the corner from Gosh Comics after all.