Overlooking the picturesque harbor in Folkestone, England, the Rocksalt restaurant serves up innovative local cuisine in a chic, sustainably built seaside location. Designed by London and Kent-based Guy Hollaway Architects, the curvaceous building sits on the sea wall above the water. The restaurant is the first building to be constructed in a plan to reenliven Folkestone’s waterfront.
From the street, the blackened exterior of the of Rocksalt appears as a curvilinear façade resembling a historic waterfront military fort. The architects used charred larchwood to achieve the facade’s smooth, deep finish naturally. On the harbor side, the restaurant opens up into the sea with a concave wall of glass. The glass wall is met with a wrap-around outdoor dining area. As the tides rise, the openness of the glass curtain blurs the line between the restaurant and the sea. The indoor dining area is also flushed with daylight from the immense windows.
The sea-facing side of the restaurant is propped up by a grid of wooden columns, which deflect boats and debris floating in the water while also protecting the restaurant from flooding. The balcony extends over the timber guards, giving dining guests the feeling of being over the water. The rooftop extends, protecting the balcony from rain. The rooftop is covered with pebbles, which aid in rain filtration and preventing solar gain.
In an effort to promote local foods, Rocksalt serves only locally caught fish, which also supports local fisherman and the town’s economy. Rocksalt’s interior is inspired by the sea – without being kitschy. Lamps are modeled after lobster traps, and the floor tiling is patterned after herring bone. The blue, grey and white interior is subtly lit by hidden LED lights that line the curvature of the interior.
Rocksalt aims to encourage the harbor to develop into a local hot spot while inspiring future businesses to support the local economy.
Images ©Paul Freeman