Inside Coco Retro Bistro in Royal Tunbridge Wells

Coco Retro is a bistro based in Royal Tunbridge Wells, a town in western Kent, England, inspired by a French flair, that is reflected in both the interior and the cuisine. The venue was designed by an architecture and design studio 32mq, established in Italy with a separated office in Royal Tunbridge Wells.

“The brief  was to provide three different inspiring dining areas for three different dining experiences. The ground floor is an informal and relaxed brasserie; the first floor is an elegant intimate and stylish restaurant and the lower floor is a wine cellar dedicated to the wine collection of the owner. Guests enter through a lobby-bar area with a unique circular shiny brass bar counter, which dominates the space and provides a perfect welcoming place for people watching on the street outside. Passing through a wooden and glass divider screen, a black and white bespoke checkerboard flooring, leads you to the brasserie. Here the existing brick walls have been left exposed with natural wooden shelves and dark wooden panels that line the walls and traverse up onto the ceiling from which hang beautiful globe lights with brass accents. The dark colour palette includes dark-brown seating and Bordeaux tinted tables. A dark-black staircase leads to a bright, luxurious and modern restaurant space where the white and powder blue colour palette provide a stark contrast to the dark atmosphere of the ground floor. The existing ceiling has been removed to expose the roof structure and to give a vertical orientation to the space. A light wooden columns screen frame divides the fireplace area from the rest of the restaurant and creates a space within the space gently lighted up by pendant lights providing an intimate area to the restaurant room. A bespoke triangular pattern flooring gives a touch of modernity to this space that faces the train station clock through a traditional leaded window. Finally, the side walls have been decorated in collaboration with the local artist Chris Burke by illustrations resembling the typical “Walks” of Royal Tunbridge Wells adding a feel of interior to the tables area. On the background, an open plan kitchen reveals itself through a horizontal glass internally framed in brass,” says the design studio 32mq

  • Location: Royal Tunbridge Wells, United Kingdom
  • Date completed: 2017
  • Size: 1,615 square feet
  • Design: 32mq design studio
  • General contractor: FF Services
  • Photos: Alan Williams
View of the brasserie on the ground floor
Lobby-bar area with a circular bar counter
Brick walls, dark wooden panels, globe lights
Dark-brown seating, Bordeaux tinted tables
Elegant restaurant on the first floor
Exposed roof structure
Light columns screen frame separates the fireplace area
Fire place area
Illustrations of the typical “Walks” of Royal Tunbridge Wells
Open plan kitchen in the background
Seating zone