Toast of the Town

The Prague Post

V Zátiší’s new makeover complements its cuisine

To fully enjoy a good meal, you must have the proper ambience and atmosphere.

V Zátiší definitely has the good food part covered, and, in September, the well-regarded Old Town restaurant showed off a new décor to complement its tasty meals.

However, it seems the re-do came about a bit unexpectedly.

“Barbara [Hamplová, the interior designer for the project,] walked in and said, ‘You gotta change this,’ ” recalls Sanjiv Suri, president and CEO of the Zátiší Group, a collection of four local restaurants. “I said, ‘OK, what do you propose?’ She came back three weeks later with a plan. It took 10 minutes to say OK.”

Hamplová is a bit more diplomatic when recalling the circumstances.

“It was very colorful,” she says. “The cuisine is too excellent for that kind of mood.”

Suri says he knew he wanted the restaurant to go a bit more casual to target a younger crowd, but, otherwise, “”it was all Barbara.””

Hamplová has experience working with the Zátiší Group. She was responsible for recent redesigns at Bellevue and Mlýnec, both part of the Zátiší chain.

On V Zátiší, Hamplová partnered with glass designer Rony Plesl to create a warm and welcoming space at the restaurant.

“The restaurant needed to be original, different from others in the group and the city,” Hamplová says. “We created a whole concept: timeless with a trendy flair but, at the same time, not obvious.”

The bar area and main dining room were the two spaces Hamplová and Plesl had to tackle. Hamplová chose to go with warm, subtle colors like white, chocolate, amber and a touch of green. The fabrics she selected lend themselves to the mood as well.

“All the materials were chosen with the demand for comfort of touch and feel,” she says. “Very soft velvet fabrics and wallpaper.”

The wallpaper, which Hamplová found in Paris, is notable. It’s brown-on-brown in a raised leaf pattern. It nicely sets off the simply framed graphics of old French botanical drawings that Plesl found in an antique shop. The quirky mix of materials is what makes the room interesting, in an unobtrusive way.

“There are usually two approaches for restaurants: contemporary or traditional,” Hamplová says. “When it is just contemporary, it often goes too trendy and isn’t cozy. If you want comfort, you think more traditional, but it can be a bit old. Here, we blended the best of contemporary and comfort for a traditional comfortable feel with a contemporary look.”

The small bar area is simple and functional. Plesl crafted mushroom shaped champagne tables that are dotted around the tiny space, perfect for holding a pre-dinner drink. Dark wood floors throughout are matched above with square dark tables. Lots of thought and planning went into the cozy chairs.

“The armchairs were especially designed and produced to meet the ultimate demand for the highest comfort,” Hamplová says.

Contentment while eating is quite important to V Zátiší’s managing director, Libor Pavlíček.

“For me, it is very important that people feel comfortable in the chairs, and that the restaurant is very eye-catching from the outside,” he says.

This is thanks to Plesl’s design vases: tall and narrow, short and round, marbled brown, orange, pink or white. These original works of art make the restaurant seem like a gallery, to both outsiders strolling past and those dining inside. It’s the look Hamplová was going for.

“We wanted to create a semi-transparent feel from inside and out,” she says. “Each niche is an art installation itself. Mario Wild [who did the floral arrangements] does more than just flowers; he also created the concept.”

The lighting is simple: tall floor lamps with plain white shades combined with overhead lights, also with white shades. Low lighting combined with the dark furnishings gives the room a tranquil tone.

All involved are pleased with the outcome.

“From everyone I’ve spoken to, this is definitely the best interior we’ve ever done, and maybe [it’s the best] in the city,” Suri says. “I feel comfortable here in a way I normally wouldn’t in a restaurant.”

Plesl is “very happy,” too.

“I see people here are very comfortable, and this is important, because you design restaurants for people,” he says.

A design should speak for itself, Hamplová adds, and here, “We hope it does.”