Housed atop a four-story Victorian warehouse in London’s East End is the newly opened Maene. The modern European-inspired restaurant is a testament to merging diverse design concepts with high-quality gastronomy. This novel establishment, situated on Fashion Street in the lively Spitalfields district, is complemented by Mission, a trendy yoga and movement space.
The mastermind behind Maene, Nick Gilkinson, also launched Townsend, a popular restaurant in the city’s Whitechapel area, in 2020.
“Maene is in an old warehouse, so we were inspired by a New York warehouse aesthetic, and one of our inspirations is a place in New York called the Musket Room,” says Gilkinson, who worked alongside locally based studio Fare Inc. to craft the space. “I always wanted Maene to feel like a place where people can come to relax and have fun—it’s not a super serious, reserved environment. You could come on a Thursday or a Friday evening and there will be a bit of a party vibe, whereas a Saturday brunch will be a lot more chilled.”
Maene’s design embraces its historic Victorian clothing factory roots via a tasteful blend of old and new. The interior design exudes understated elegance, spotlighting the building’s original architecture while affording wraparound views of its neighborhood.
Design features are skillfully woven together, focusing on natural texture and patina to further enhance the inherent beauty of the building. A melange of materials like zinc, tonal wood finishes, and cement juxtapose reclaimed Victorian floorboards and rough walls. Softer touches of contrasting linens and cobalt blue accents lend an air of sophistication to the ambiance.
“There is a real mixture of textures and materials at Maene,” Gilkinson adds. “We kept the original warehouse floor to showcase the bones of the place and mixed materials and colors to open it up. We have ash wood contrasted with darker wood and a polished concrete bar, as well as some zinc and brass finishes.”
Further highlighting the architectural heritage, a trio of large steel French doors mirror the warehouse’s original cast iron windows, inviting streams of natural light to imbue the space with warmth. The result is an atmospheric, relaxed setting that allows the architecture to take center stage.