As Aston Villa builds for a return to the Premier League, a similar transformation is taking place off the pitch. Working with Forward Associates (strategy and branding consultants) and Nick Leith-Smith, the club has embarked on a dramatic overhaul of its hospitality offer.
Previously the reserve of the VIP, The Directors’ Club invites fans to dine at football’s top table. Guests get to watch the game from the best seats in the house, enjoying the same menu and sense of occasion as the directors.
The main spatial strategy was to place the directors box at the heart of the new restaurant. This acts as the focal point to the room, connecting and separating the diners from the directors. Diners are able to see the comings and goings, while the glazed partitions and wine wall offers further natural theatre and tantalising glimpses into a world rarely seen.
At either end of the room are two marble-topped bars. Constructed from steel and amplified by the addition of mesh gantries made from brass, the bars have significant impact. The front panels are steel framed, elevating the bars, while the brass edging and skirting create coherent ascents.
To avoid over-branding the space, the materials and colours are respectful of Aston Villa but given greater depth through the use of different shades of blues. Dark oak floors, wall panelling and tables adds to the sense of history, while brass is used to detail the skirting and table edges, helping to brighten the environment.
The branding for The Directors’ Club – the diagonal lines of the A and the V of Aston Villa – are weaved into the design, such as within the interlocking relief panelling, and help to introduce a sense of movement throughout the space.