Best known for his product design, Cape Town’s Liam Mooney has recently turned his hand to interiors with huge success, including the Longmarket loft apartment in our Winter issue. DECO takes a closer look at his newly revamped La Mouette restaurant in Sea Point.
Liam, we last spoke to you at Justin Rhodes’ & Cameron Munro’s Longmarket loft back in March… what have you been up to since then?
My team has grown, so I’ve been concentrating on house projects, but in addition to that, I’m working on a store design for an amazing international clothing brand, custom furniture design and the overall design of a new wine farm developement.
Tell us about the La Mouette project – what attracted you to the brief and how did you get involved?
I was approached by Mari Vigar, one of the owners, to pitch to do the job. I have loved La Mouette for many years, so naturally jumped at the opportunity to work with such an iconic Capetonian restaurant.
La Mouette was a revamp rather than designing something new from scratch – what are the challenges in a revamp?
When revamping, the editing process becomes important – deciding what to change and what to keep the same is hugely challenging. What you have to try and do, is decide where the most impact can be made with the fewest resources.
When revamping, the editing process becomes important – decide where the most impact can be made with the fewest resources.
My advice to anyone revamping, is to concentrate on the often overlooked aspects of a design, which might not be glaringly problematic, but create a sense or an aura of things not being quite right…does your ceiling need a touch-up? Perhaps your floors could do with being re-sanded or tiles re-grouted?
How is designing a restaurant interior different from a home? Do you alter your design approach? What do you have to consider?
It’s hugely different – the experience of eating a plate of food can be ruined if the surrounding design isn’t correct. Lighting and colour are at the top of my list of make-or-break design decisions.
Walk us through La Mouette… can you tell us about your selection of pieces, your choice of colours, textures and furniture?
We custom-designed the colours; I worked with colourist Freya Lincoln to create what I call Burgugine – the perfect mix of Burgundy and Aubergine, both great colours for food! The corridors and bars we did in a Peacock Blue to stimulate thirst – colour psychology is a real thing.
Lighting and colour are at the top of my list of make-or-break design decisions.
Part of my brief was to create industrial moments, and we achieved this with the lighting, which is really stark and industrial in its simplicity. The objective with the interior design was to remove as much clutter as possible, making the food the focus of your experience at the newly-designed La Mouette.
It looks like the perfect cosy setting for a wintry supper… what do you love most about the winter season?
I like spaces to get a little darker in winter. It’s the perfect time to turn the lights down, and use darker hues. Also there’s stew…
In a space featuring stunning natural woods, you’ve made bold colour choices – how can DECO readers be inspired?
I call the red Burgugine, the perfect mix of burgundy and aubergine, and the blue is a Peacock Blue. Paint really is the cheapest way to update a space, so why be cautious?
Paint really is the cheapest way to update a space, so why be cautious?
Are there any tips from La Mouette that we can take into our own dining spaces at home?
Turn the lights down low.
Have you had the chance to sample the menu yet at La Mouette? Any recommendations? What occasion do you think it would be the perfect venue for?
The tasting menu is incredible! No occasion necessary, go every night of the week!
What’s next on the Liam Mooney agenda?
The rest of the year for me is focused on designing a new wine farm.
Images courtesy of La Mouette. For more information, visit lamouette-restaurant.co.za or follow the team at @teamlamouette on Twitter. To see what Liam’s up to next, visit liammooney.co.za or follow him on Instagram @liammooney1.