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Jolie creates a sensory trans-continental journey at Kitten cocktail bar

Jolie has used its expertise in sensory-led interior design to create a new Instagram-worthy Japanese Izakaya and cocktail bar in Manchester.

14/09/2022 2 min read

Located within the burgeoning new Deansgate Square district on the southern edge of the city centre, Jolie has created a striking new space that appeals to an affluent millennial-mindset clientele known for prioritising experience over possessions.

The design studio has eschewed a purely aesthetics driven approach and have instead utilised sensory zoning by considering the feel, fragrance and soundtrack for each internal area, to enhance the customer journey throughout the space, from morning to night.

At Kitten, the Jolie team drew upon their experience of creating ‘sensory-balanced’ designs, routinely collaborating with neuroscientists in each sensory field to carefully source and combine materials and fragrances to craft each environment from the inside out.

“For us, social sustainability comes down to the idea of building lasting communities that nourish people and the planet, and nurturing spaces that improve collaboration, connection, and wellbeing,” says Founder and CEO Franky Rousell.

“When we design spaces such as Kitten we not only incorporate sustainable practices and elements, but take it a step further by influencing behaviours that promote a socially and environmentally sustainable future landscape. We want to lead with authenticity in our developments, weaving responsible choices into every decision, stage, and feature.”

Echoing the grandeur of the 200-metre-high skyscraper in which it sits, the cavernous interior of Kitten features an impactful triple height entryway, with huge archways on the wall behind the central bar offering a cathedral-like experience.

“The food and cocktail offering of Kitten is really innovative,” continues Rousell, “and we really wanted to draw people’s attention to that. We’ve then softened this sense of grandeur in other areas by using a more natural and down-to-earth palette, particularly at the rear of the restaurant where we want people to linger, so that the experience is all about a shared coming together over food.

“For example, we’ve maintained the same archway silhouettes for visual continuity, but with a plaster finish that makes the space feel more grounded and comfortable. The use of leather upholstery is reassuring and gentle, like the human touch, while the plush velvet of the armchairs has been incorporated to promote open and meaningful conversation.”

A scent profile of calming amber and uplifting patchouli has been devised by Jolie for use throughout the interior to help unify each of the internal areas, while a soundtrack of Tropical Bird Club and Japanese Tech has been compiled to showcase the cultural narrative of the restaurant’s food and drink offering.


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