4 min read
17 May 2023

A picture-perfect venue

By Amy Fulford

SGP’s interior design team delivers magical wedding venue that’s perfect for those Instagram moments

When Stephen George + Partners (SGP) was appointed by Aagrah, a well-known family chain of Indian restaurants in West Yorkshire, to refurbish a wedding venue in Bradford, one of the key considerations of the brief was to create a camera-friendly experience that customers would want to share with thousands of their social media followers.

While Interior Design has always been important to the success of hospitality venues, the rise of social media as a key marketing tool for venue owners has arguably made it even more critical. With a lot of competition in the local Bradford area, many of which are heavily Instagrammed, Aagrah was looking to re-establish its venue situated above The Midpoint in the Thornbury area of the city as the place to be seen. SGP’s Interior Design team set to work redesigning the venue as an opulent magical space fit for making those special memories.

Amy Fulford, Interior Designer at SGP, comments: “As our first wedding venue commission, there was a lot to learn about the cultural rituals and ceremony and how that might best be interpreted in our design. Working within the client’s budget, we have delivered strongly on their desired aesthetic to create a truly special venue. From the moment you step inside the entrance, as you float up the staircase, to the second you walk in the wedding hall, the experience has been elevated and taken to the next level of luxury.”

Aagrah’s icon is its elephant statue that sits proudly in front of the building. When designing an Instagram-worthy wall, SGP’s designers thought it only right to incorporate both the elephant and colourful vibrancy of the Indian culture. The reception area now features a 3m tall, large-as-life, rich and colourful elephant mural with a rainbow of sequin-embellished umbrellas and intricate golden lanterns dazzling from above.

From here guests experience the new-found grandeur of the double-height staircase that leads them up to the drinks reception. A luxurious golden swirling wall covering has been applied to complement the existing interior sandstone stonework. Pink and cream satin flowers line floral archways through to the banquette hall, but the star attraction is the gleaming crystal chandelier illuminating from on high.

Within the main banquet hall, the design features a statement floral centrepiece suspended from the ceiling, creating an enchanting bridal walkway, with twinkling crystal lights hidden amongst the petals. Upcycled golden thrones sit atop a new marble-effect stage, with star-studded curtain backdrop. Adding to the impact are a couple of wow effects that have been subtly designed to be disguised. Smoke machines sit secretly within the stage steps and hidden in bespoke planters to the rear of the room. The bride emerges in a cloud of mystique, making a grand entrance from the new bridal suite, now adorned with ornate gold doors.

While creating a feeling of grandeur was at the heart of the brief, budget was a close second. Although detailed beading applied to all the walls was originally considered, SGP’s team identified a cost-effective solution in stylised wallpaper with a beaded trim to the top. This produced the same desired aesthetic but without the price tag.

Where feasible, SGP’s design sought to work with the existing fabric of the building and looked to cleverly re-use existing features. The doors have all been refurbished and transformed from their previous drab wood effect to a classy mid grey with gold beading and kickplates. Similarly, the ornate mirrors have all been meticulously resprayed in gold to tie in with the new scheme. Display cases situated in the drinks reception area have been sanded and repainted with gold leaf trim to the decorated edges and the bridal thrones have been reupholstered and sprayed gold. The carcass for the bar was retained and new cost-effective mock patina roof tiles have been applied, along with new feature LED downlighting to really highlight the contours of the 3D tiles.

Amy concludes: “The result speaks for itself, recycle, reuse, blended with clever design elements, accompanied by selective new pieces such as the plush sumptuous velvet sofas and glistening chandeliers, combine together to create a wedding venue fit for a Maharajah.”

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