In an industry notorious for food waste, award-winning chef Douglas McMaster has achieved the seemingly unattainable — Silo, the world’s first zero-waste restaurant. For Silo’s second outpost in London, local interior design studio Nina+Co teamed up with McMaster to craft an interior that reinforces the restaurant’s sustainable ethos with locally sourced natural materials and innovative design aimed at minimizing environmental impact.
Launched in Australia in 2011, Silo was heralded as the world’s first zero-waste restaurant. Its success spurred the creation of a branch in Brighton, U.K., followed by a second venue in east London that opened during the fall of last year. The long-anticipated London branch is located on the upper floor of the renovated White Building, within an old cocoa roasting factory with large steel-framed windows and exposed steel trusses. In contrast with the industrial setting (the approach begins with a canal-side cast-iron staircase next to a graffiti-covered bridge), Silo’s interiors are surprisingly elegant and minimalist.
“A few pioneering and high-quality materials, a very crafted process, and a zero-waste mentality form the basis of the design,” said Nina Woodcroft, founder of Nina+Co, in a press release. “The aim is to close the loop, with an interior composed from waste or thoughtfully sourced, natural materials, that will either biodegrade or easily disassemble for repurposing in the future. Following Silo’s post-industrial ethos, we opted to work with local crafts people using age-old techniques, as well as harnessing innovative materials and technologies.”
Recycled materials are featured throughout the restaurant interiors, beginning with the host stand built from offcuts of timber laminated into a tree stump-like shape. Natural cork harvested by hand lines the floors, while natural, biodegradable woolen fabrics were used to upholster the seats, and linen was used for the wardrobe curtain. Thirty bespoke lights crafted specially for Silo by Nina+Co were produced by a local potter with crushed glass wine bottles from the restaurant, and a pendant light near the entrance was made from foraged seaweed.
Images via Sam A. Harris