Photographer: Annabel Elston

Locket's by Fran Hickman | Café interiors ×

Photographer: Annabel Elston

Locket's by Fran Hickman | Café interiors ×

Photographer: Annabel Elston

Locket's by Fran Hickman | Café interiors ×

Renowned design studio, Fran Hickman, known for its bespoke, highly tailored approach, is delighted to present its design for Locket’s, a brand new all-day cafe and wine bar in London’s Piccadilly, from the team behind the historic Wilton’s.

Fran Hickman Design & Interiors have reimagined a Grade II* listed London landmark in Piccadilly with a contemporary design which nods to the upholstered old-school of St James’s members’ clubs and Jermyn Street gentlemen’s outfitters, made easy by the familiar comforts of the traditional Italian trattoria then given a robust twist – or rather curve – of femininity.

The light and open informal dining space is housed in what was the former Economist building on ‘Smithson Plaza’, 25 St James's Street, originally designed by dynamic mid-century architectural partners Alison and Peter Smithson. Completed in 1964 and home to The Economist for over half a century, this Grade II* listed building complex, today regarded as a triumph of post-war brutalism and a London landmark, has undergone a major, deeply respectful, renovation.

By extending the existing structure, Fran Hickman have carefully honoured both the building’s heritage and the original architects’ philosophy, whilst dynamically redesigning the space with their signature bespoke touches, opening it up to the newly-named Smithson Plaza (renowned as one of the few quiet places in central London) and allowing Locket’s to celebrate the classical flair of the Italian piazza in the heart of St James'.

Floor to ceiling glass windows shower the room in natural daylight whilst decorative table lights wear shades made of parchment. A cork bar guides along the right-hand wall and luxurious banquettes in pale teal leather add to the early seventies theme with individual custom resin tables overlooking the bustling streets and art galleries of Bury Street. Milan’s grand entryways inspire the lacquered brass door detailing, while across the space a palette of moss greens and burnt yellows combine with cork and patinated copper work, as well as marble and wooden elements, to create an atmosphere which is warm and lively but intimate.

The studio took inspiration from the Smithsons’ Sudgen House (1955) and the mid-century sensuality of Milanese residence Villa Borsani for the eye-catching monochrome polyvinyl flooring and worked with specialist fabricators to create bespoke, amber resin table tops and spherical fiberglass pendants.

Upholstery inspired by gentlemen’s outfitters’ from the era of the building’s construction were originated from the archive at Tibor – a familyowned textile house still weaving fabrics on handlooms – and used to cover the seating, as well as inspire a flame-stitched veneer wall-cladding at the end of the bar. The House of the Future (1956) gives rise to the clean, curved lines and bull-nosed edging of the bar tops and the scalloped detailing in the flooring and wall-mirroring – all of which bring curves of femininity to traditionally straight, geometric lines.

Named after Locket Hambro, the great-granddaughter of Olaf Hambro who, over 275 years ago, took on the running of one of St James’s most iconic restaurants, Wiltons, and whose family still run to this day. With this long history of restaurants in her family, it was only a matter of time before Locket branched out with her own venture, Locket’s. Vibrant cafe by day, Locket’s will transform into a casual wine bar at night becoming the perfect evening drink spot with light, simple small plates, focussing on European flavours.

“We loved working with Locket and the Wiltons group on the wine bar. Deeply hospitable and professional, it has been nothing but a pleasure working on this fresh fun addition to the neighbourhood.”

Design Team:

Fran Hickman

Photographer: Rebecca Hope

Locket's by Fran Hickman | Café interiors ×

Photographer: Annabel Elston

Locket's by Fran Hickman | Café interiors ×

Photographer: Rebecca Hope

Locket's by Fran Hickman | Café interiors ×

Photographer: Rebecca Hope

Locket's by Fran Hickman | Café interiors ×

Photographer: Annabel Elston

Locket's by Fran Hickman | Café interiors ×

Photographer: Annabel Elston

Locket's by Fran Hickman | Café interiors ×