Art of the Possible

December 18, 2015
Innovative Products & Projects, Williams

Williams innovation takes center stage at the Mondrian London at Sea Containers

The Mondrian London at Sea Containers is a five-star boutique hotel owned by Morgan Hotels, recently opened its doors after a lengthy and complex reconfiguration of the building. British designer Tom Dixon took inspiration from the 1920’s luxury cruise liners, reinforcing the nautical feel including a gigantic copper-clad hull-shaped wall that dominates the lobby area.
The Sea Containers restaurant is open for service from 6am to midnight every day and serves up to 700 covers. This means that the kitchen needs sturdy, efficient, reliable equipment that can withstand heavy usage. The big open restaurant is supported by a main basement production kitchen and a smaller show kitchen at the back. Tricon Foodservice consultants found plenty of challenges along the way.

Creative solutions for small spaces

“The biggest problem was the space in the subterranean kitchen which was built in what was a car park, with very low ceilings,” explains Mike Coldicott FCSI. “Kitchens need to be ventilated and they need to accommodate lots of mechanical electrical services. All of that has to happen out of sight, above ceiling and below floor.” The solution was ventilated ceilings and integrated services so as not to impact the footprint. Height and space were the specific challenges for Willams Refrigeration when they set about fitting the kitchen. “We had to adapt some of the cabinets to roll-in type units to maximize the useable space.” Says business development manager Toby Magness. The most unusual requirement was for cold room walls with a 30 minute fire rating because they sit right next to a fire corridor.

Around the clock operation for maximum efficiency

Kitchen spaces are getting tighter, especially in London due to increased costs per square meter. “We are seeing new operation management procedures for restaurant that run shift systems during which the kitchen operates 24 hours a day. The pastry bakery might start at 2 am until 8 am when the main shift start for the day. In the evening it might be banqueting or conferencing” explains Coldicott.

Reduced spaces are the driving force for product innovation

For manufacturers, the lack of space helps to drive innovation. “We have to be innovative with our refrigeration solutions,” says Magness. These include front-of-house wine displays and patisserie display chillers, mobile prep stations and reduced depth counters. “We even provide an external cold room so restaurants can move it into the car park.” 

Energy savings and life-cycle costs

Industry trends include environmental issues and the containment of running costs. “Above all, life-cycle costs are still the main factor,” says Coldicott. “Utility costs are increasing so kit that uses less energy has a major impact on overall design.” Williams met the essential requirements for Mondrian. “The beauty  of Williams equipment is that it is highly environmentally efficient, it has excellent recovery time and is a very well-engineered product. For the Sea Containers project it ticks so many boxes,” concludes Coldicott.

woman reaching into commercial beverage-air fridge.

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