Tips and trends for cutting edge restaurant design


Dean Gambles & Co is one of London’s leading restaurant property brokers. But while we can give you the best possible start by helping you find the perfect site, the overall success of a restaurant depends on more.

That’s why we’ve recently launched The Restaurant Network (TRN) — a network of hospitality industry specialists across a range of disciplines who can help make your restaurant stand out and thrive. These are professionals we’ve worked with consistently over many years and who we’re happy to endorse.

As the second instalment in this series, we talk to TRN’s resident interior designer, Dale Atkinson, founder of Rosendale Design, about cutting-edge design trends, how to make the most of your restaurant space and eating steak tartare at The Wolseley.


Tips and trends for cutting edge restaurant design


After all the stresses and strains that the pandemic has imposed on the capital’s hospitality sector, London’s hard-pressed restaurateurs might shudder to hear much Covid-19 is still influencing restaurant design trends.

The imagination may conjure up images of decor inspired by NHS blue, facemasks and appropriate social distancing. Fortunately, the truth is more soothing.

In a trend which is unlikely to cause any but the most allergy-susceptible to break out in fits of coughing, London’s restaurants are embracing biophilic design.

This is what has emerged in TRN’s chat this month with Dale Atkinson, founder of Rosendale design studio, and go-to interior design ninja for many of Dean Gambles & Co’s clients.

Trend-setters’ bible Wallpaper magazine recently described Dale as “an expert in creating award-winning, chef-led, fine dining restaurant and hospitality interiors” and cited his cutting-edge work in spaces such as King’s Social, Roux at Parliament Square (sadly a casualty of the pandemic) and at Somerset House.

Naturally then, one of the first questions on our lips when we got to talk to Dale was about the latest fashions to sweep London’s restaurant interiors. And we’re pleased to hear that in this area the pandemic has had a positive effect, ushering in what Dale refers to as a “biophilic reconnection”.

For those of us who are not design maestros, this means “a desire to be closer to nature.”

“People realised during the pandemic how important it was to be outside and now they want to be surrounded by greenery, by plants and flowers” says Dale.

“It’s not just about plants though – it’s also about mixing sources of natural light, making safe spaces feel safer.”

Access to green space went from being a nice-to-have to a quality-of-life-changing issue during the pandemic — and restaurants with their fingers on the pulse of the popular mood are increasingly sensing that.

In restaurant property terms one of the key changes is the growing importance of outside terraces.
“People started to feel more comfortable sitting outside,” adds Dale.

Therefore, he stresses that while terraces come with a premium, they can make all the difference when it comes to on-trend design.


Building a brand

Dale is originally from Canada but moved to Europe 20 years ago. He initially started out his career as a designer in Italy before working for Foster + Partners, the global studio set up by the famed architect Sir Norman Foster. He later created his own company, Rosendale, seven years ago.

Since then, he has gone from strength to strength, working for big names such as Jun Tanaka and Jason Atherton (both Dean Gambles’ regular clients).

When Atherton wanted to redesign his own house – creating a space where he could give televised cooking demonstrations if necessary — it was to Dale that he turned.

Having built his own brand, Dale knows the importance of close liaisons discussions with clients to ensure the final design reflects their brand.

“Lighting is a very important aspect. We try to create dramatic spaces and layering the space through the use of lighting.”

Rosendale also has close contacts with scenic artists who can give a space a unique touch.

“They can create almost any effect we seek for us,” he says. It also means each design gives clients a genuinely bespoke finish.


Integrating design from the outset

Any new operation that is seeking to maximise its design potential would do well to contact a designer before they even start looking at locations, Dale advises.

“When you’ve got a designer onboard early you can look at which site has the best potential in terms of design,” he says.

“Sometimes a client comes to me and says I’ve got this site, but when I see it, it isn’t ideal for the elements they have in mind. Sometimes they may even come up with wild hair-brained ideas such as removing structural stairs — not knowing that it’s going to end up costing them at least £50,000 alone.”

All of these mistakes can be avoided by integrating design at the outset of a project and contracting a designer at the beginning of the process.

We couldn’t help asking Dale if he had a soft spot for the design of any of the capital’s eateries outside his own creations. It turns out he is an admirer of The Wolseley on Picadilly.

“Whenever I’m near there at lunchtime I try and pop in for a steak tartare and an orange juice. It’s one of those spaces that seems to get better as it gets older,” he says.

If you need professional interior design advice and service, please contact Rosendale Design on +44 20 7190 9691 or head to If you’re interested in purchasing or selling a restaurant or have any other restaurant-property related queries, please contact Dean Gambles & Co on +44 20 7078 7464 or