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Mystery takes F&B to new heights with Bōkan

Set atop Accor’s brand new flagship Novotel in Canary Wharf, with spectacular panoramic views across the entirety of the city, Bōkan is set to be one of London’s most exciting, high-dining and drinking destinations.

F&B and hospitality brand design agency, Mystery was first approached by Accor back in 2014, when the proposed Canary Wharf Novotel skyscraper was little more than foundations. The three top floors had not yet been designed, but were destined for entertainment spaces benefitting from wall-to-wall perimeter glazing, with 360º views right across London.

With an existing successful relationship, Accor knew Mystery’s ambitious, creative approach and wealth of dedicated F&B experience would enable them to deliver the concept they were looking for.

The team was briefed to transform the 37, 38 & 39th floors into a destination F&B concept that would surpass expectations at every level and attract customers from across London and indeed the world to come and build lasting experiential memories.

Working in close collaboration with Accor’s in-house team from brand inception right through to completion, Mystery managed every aspect of the concept development, down to the smallest detail. This included brand strategy and naming, food and beverage menu development, interior design, graphic design and website design.

With the amazing new building commanding a position in the heart of London’s Docklands, Mystery wanted to build a story around the rich trade history that is so inherently unique to this particular area. Bōkan means ‘Beacon’ in Angle-Saxon and was inspired by navigational exploration and the Docklands as a destination for trade and commerce.

Their vision was for Bōkan to become a dockside guiding light for artisanal food and drink, taking inspiration from its industrial surrounds and bring to life the romance of this beautiful history. Bōkan’s core value is about sensual discovery, which infiltrates every aspect of the brand experience.

The branding and identity for Bōkan is deliberately subtle, but inspired by Dockland life; the typography reproduces the writing on the sides of boats and crates; the little line on the top of the ‘o’ is actually the way Bōkan is written in Anglo Saxon, but also gives a nod to the concept of the beacon itself something being set on top of the actual building. The wayfinding and signage is inspired by navigational signage and dockside tide markers, while the menus are dipped in verdigris to suggest a water line. The level of the verdigris changes according to the floor to convey the sense of shifting levels.

Mystery’s brief was to build the framework for a premium casual food concept with innovative twists on classic European dishes – to provoke nostalgia and inspire a journey of discovery.

The agency’s in-house food and beverage development team worked alongside the designers and Accor on every aspect of menu direction. The team’s expert knowledge ensured a holistic brand experience across all aspects; from dish recommendations, wine tasting and menu structure, to equipment and kitchen design recommendations, product sourcing and crockery procurement.

Head chef, Aurélie Altemaire took the concept and crafted a mouthwatering menu of stunning dishes to return for, time and time again.

The 37th floor’s 65-cover restaurant showcases the best of British produce across a menu of European-inspired dishes, including locally-sourced charcuterie and cheeses, Rhug Estate grass-fed lamb cutlets, slow-smoked Blythburgh Pork Belly and Aberdeen Angus steak.

From 37 up to 39, the interior design concept takes inspiration from London’s historic Canary Wharf, with a unique and beguiling combination of industrial materials and luxury comfort.

The unique Docklands-chic style is further owned through the use of clever, yet subtle details referencing industrial pulleys and an imposing monolithic verdigris-aged metal staircase, that connects all three floors of Bōkan and encases the iconic, feature charcuterie fridge, bread and olive oil display.  Part of Mystery’s initial planning strategy was to position the staircase at the heart of the space to maximise the perimeter glazing for seating therefore taking advantage of one of the unique selling points of the site.

Weathered metals, rustic timbers and polished concrete finishes are offset by warm lighting, cushioned lounge areas and vintage rugs, with carefully selected pieces of classic furniture to create a snug, refined and luxurious, experience within an industrial setting. With floor to ceiling glazing, London’s iconic skyline features as the backdrop to the experience.

Bōkan’s bar champions locally distilled spirits, intriguing cocktails, craft beers and a carefully thought out wine list that takes guests on a unique journey of wine exploration. There is something special about every bottle and guests will delve into their passion for wine uncovering something new each time they visit.

The roof terrace on the 39th floor, boasts the highest specialist gin bar in London, with comfortable leather lounging areas, outdoor daybeds and a DJ mezzanine – perfect for intimate gatherings, while admiring the striking views of London. It’s an easygoing and informal hideaway, far from the buzz of the busy streets below.

Soft-launched in March, with its official launch in June, Bōkan has already received countless rave reviews, features and Instagram adulation and is destined to be one of the most talked-about venue launches of 2017.

Mystery was founded in 1998 and has offices in London and LA.