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Third transformation project at Edinburgh Zoo


FOLLOWING a successful refresh of the Edinburgh Zoo’s Penguin Café last year, Design & Build specialists Space Solutions has worked with the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) to transform two further hospitality spaces: the Grasslands Café and Mansion Bar. The recent completion marks three projects delivered by SPACE at one of the city’s biggest tourist attractions.

The café and bar form part of the historic Mansion House, originally built in 1793, which sits in the heart of Edinburgh Zoo and functions as a year-round event venue as well as a destination for visitors to relax and refresh.

Led by Senior Interior Designer, Isobel Jones-Watt, the cafe and bar now have flexible furniture options and updated interiors allowing the spaces to transform as needed to accommodate different guests and events. In the café, dark ceilings, large wall graphics and a colour palette inspired by the dry grasslands themselves give the space a new bolder look, while the mansion bar’s softer palette is accented by feature wallpaper and colour blocking to complement the bar’s historic architecture.

Further upgrades, including improving noise distribution with suspended acoustic baffles from the high ceilings as well as updating the toilet facilities.

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Isobel said: “Our initial reaction to the Grasslands Café was to break up the space by introducing angles in both flooring transitions, furniture layout and suspended ceiling features. This mimicked more movement to represent the grassland’s natural environment, in a space which previously resembled a linear canteen. Much like the Penguin Café, we developed an identity for the Grasslands with graphic designer Heather Cumming, which complimented our bold colour palette alongside featured full bleed black and white imagery (see if you can spot some Zoo residents!) which in turn provided a warm, playful yet functional space for dining.”

Beccy Angus, head of discovery and learning at RZSS, said: “We are delighted to have continued our collaboration with SPACE on two of our wildlife conservation charity’s most popular hospitality spaces. RZSS’s mission is to create a world where nature is protected, valued and loved, and the refresh of Grasslands and Mansion Bar offer improved spaces where we can encourage people to relax and reflect during their time at the zoo.”

Space Solutions has been creating award-winning interiors since 1997. The business continues to develop the concept of workplace consultancy & design and has worked with major public & private organisations across the UK. The business has locations in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee Livingston and London and employs 180 members of staff.

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