Table Talk: Jim Hamilton on cheese, cutlery and questioning chefs
The Creative Director of Graven Images shares why restaurants should aspire to connect people
One of the first things we started designing were bars. Back in the day – around 25 years ago – there was a certain self-centred quality to it because we were trying to create places we ourselves would like. We’ve been lucky enough to work on spaces not just in Scotland but all over the world. I just like to try things out.
We worked on the Royal Hotel in Copenhagen a few years ago and we had a meal at the top with incredible views out to the city. Every course came out with different cutlery. The food was brilliant, but it was the theatre of it that made the experience so special.
Working on Forgan’s restaurant in St Andrews was illuminating. Creating a venue to suit all kinds of people was important, so we made a map of the world on one wall where people could come and put a pin in with their name to show where they were from. It was very low-tech; rather than an online social network, this was a way for people to connect in real life.
From a design side, there can be a fear that if you’re not brought up knowing food then you’ve got to believe everything a chef is telling you. But you’ve got to question it, get right in about it and ask why. Putting together the design, the theatre, the experience and the food, you almost become another figure in the kitchen adding something to the mix. Though we’re more like the seasoning than the big cheese.
Jim Hamilton is creative director at Graven Images design consultancy.