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Run For The Hills designs a ‘boldly seductive’ bar at Heartbreaker

Ben Thompson’s ultra-glamorous cocktail bar centres around a character concept of ‘bad Cupid.’

27/09/2023

2 min read

Photography: Phillip Durant


Design studio Run For The Hills (RFTH) unveils its latest hospitality design project based in Worthing, West Sussex. The brainchild of Ben Thompson, indie rock band Two Door Cinema Club’s drummer, Heartbreaker is a chic cocktail bar set to rival venues in London, New York and LA. 

RFTH’s input was comprehensive, designing not only the inside of the bar, but also the joineries, banquette seating, decorative lighting and furnishings and overall branding for the business. “We wanted to create a character behind the name and came up with the concept of a ‘bad cupid’,” says Chris Trotman, RFTH’s founding creative director, “we created a Heartbreaker logotype in a broken lockup and various arrow patterns that are used on cushion fabrics.” The result is a boldly seductive pink and red identity that complements the interior palette. 

The colour palette was dubbed by RFTH’s interior design team as ‘Noir En Rose’ and brings together clashes of deep reds, clarets and dusky pinks to form an atmospheric cabaret lounge-style setting. “We had lots of fun with this one: a super-fly, ultra-glamorous night-owls-only bar for lounge lizards, hipsters and shakers,” adds Anna Burles, founding creative director of the London-based studio.  

Guests enter via a mysterious entrance that signals the venue with discreet branding and super tight beams of light cast onto a statement door. Upon opening the door, on the other side of a thick velvet curtain the speakeasy bar’s vibes are relinquished with an uninterrupted view straight down the barrel of the venue’s hero cocktail bar.

The horseshoe-shaped bar takes centre stage within the space, with a dramatic over-bar light installation designed by RFTH in a mix of refracted light, antique mirror and mesh. The bar below is dressed in reflective materials and wrapped in layers of light; from soft washes across metallic tiles within the front bar arches to the glitter-fleck counter top and rear illumination of colourful apothecary glassware to the back bar.  

The design team collaborated with lighting designers Nulty on the project who added light effects both onto and above the bar as well as an atmospheric glow-light underneath and behind velvet fixed seating around the perimeter of the bar. Murano glass chandelier fittings also hang from the ceiling, adding to the luxury feel of the space.  The specialist hero-bar joinery was fabricated by Rough Living who coordinated with Nulty to integrate the light effects. Fixed seating throughout Heartbreaker is by Hill Cross Furniture.  

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