Also offering a vast array of places to eat and local pubs, many of its bars and clubs are geared towards the younger student population, and the town lacked a modern cocktail bar that could offer its permanent residents a contemporary venue to enjoy a night out.
Ashley Westen and his brother Daryll were looking to invest in a new bar project and felt Guildford was an ideal location to create a contemporary offering that would appeal to the wider community, rather than just its students. “I live locally and had a concept in mind for a more sophisticated, edgy style cocktail bar that would add another element to Guildford’s nightlife and be akin to something you would find in London.
“The premises of an existing café style bar became available and I knew it was perfect for the bar, both in size and location so snapped it up.
“Together with a branding specialist Will Fletcher, we created some distinct brand styles and colours which we then handed over to interior design company Engaging Interiors to set about designing the interior scheme.”
Crispin Williams from Engaging Interiors took on the project and having considered the brother’s vision, target market, and the existing brand work, he felt an overarching industrial theme would be perfect for the brand and the bar’s audience.
“The core of the design is formed around a mix of brick and metal, a perfect industrial duo which are also robust and economical. The existing black and green in the Kokomo logo would also sit prominently against this backdrop.
“Introducing wood added the final element of the natural materials palette, to which I then planned to use modern lighting techniques to add a layer of colour and atmosphere.
“Daryll asked me to look at V4 Woodflooring’s Urban Nature range, as he has used their wood in his day job as a residential architect. Together we chose Urban Nature Fired Brick as it provided a darker oak that would sit really comfortably with the brick and metal finishes.”
The Urban Nature collection combines rich textured oak for a traditional style which has character and authenticity, then applies colouring techniques to produce a contemporary colour finish.
The Fired Brick oak top layer is given a deep lustre with the application of colour oils which are UV cured to build up a natural protective surface making it extremely robust to a high footfall.
The industrial finishes of the scheme are brought to life with the use of a mix of neon and LED lighting which includes striking edge lit yellow glass around the bar areas, funky filament LED lights and an eye-catching neon green branded stairwell.
Ashley commented “We are so pleased with the finished bar and it’s proving really popular, reaching out to the target audience we had in mind in the popular commuter town. The wood floor looks great, and the thick oak top layer, UV treatment and its darker tones means it holds up really well in a high footfall environment like Kokomo.”
Kokomo is open from 5 pm Tuesday – Sunday offering a mix of cocktails and live music in a stylish venue.