The world’s first zero-waste restaurant

How Nina+Co created an innovative interior with Douglas McMaster for Silo's new home in Hackney Wick, London.


Project summary

  • Seating and decorative lighting for new restaurant, bar and cocktail lounge
  • Pieces from sustainably minded brands in natural materials
  • Custom contract furniture made of innovative mycelium fungus
  • Six months timeframe from concept to completion

Nina Wooodcroft had been offered her dream project, creating the interior of Silo London, the world’s first zero-waste restaurant. The client truly shared the ethos of sustainability that had lead her to set up her own business, Nina+Co, four years earlier. Meanwhile the brief gave her freedom to create a sophisticated and elegant backdrop inside a former confectionary factory, with the opportunity to make use of experimental new sustainable materials and suppliers.

“It was a dream client really, coming from the same angle as as I am. He really cared about sustainable design and being zero waste. He just wanted a really beautiful, elegant interior to live up to the standard of the food.”
Asymmetric lighting from UK brand Innermost adds a light touch and was available on the required short lead time for the project.

However, the timelines were extremely tight – just six months from the first phone call with owner and chef Douglas McMaster to the doors opening. This didn’t leave time for her usual approach of working with local suppliers to create everything bespoke, plus Nina knew from experience that creating a contract project with innovative materials is never straightforward. She also had a six-month-old baby, so had less hours available to work than before.

“I wouldn’t have gone back to work yet for any other project, but this opportunity was so inspiring. I needed support because I just had less hours of my day available, so Clippings was absolutely invaluable to me.”
Nina+Co selected the Pavilion dining chairs from &tradition, Afteroom bar chairs from Menu, Parasol table lamp from Innermost and Dome Table lamp from Mater for the restaurant interior design at Silo London.
Clippings really felt like an extension of my design team. Why do all the legwork if you don’t have to?

An expert helping hand to find the right products quickly

Nina contacted Clippings and was put in touch with a dedicated account manager, who worked alongside her on the project from start to finish. “As soon as I spoke to Sam about my project it was clear sustainable design is extremely close to his heart and he’s really passionate about it too, so he really threw himself into it.”

Sourcing service

Nina added products to her project board to request quotes and information from multiple brands via her account manager. She could then quickly select furniture, choosing pieces from Danish suppliers in reliably-sourced natural materials. “Having Sam do all the communication was hugely time-saving throughout every phase.”

Product suggestions

Her account manager also suggested a brand from the Netherlands who could make cocktail lounge furniture from mycelium, a sustainable material grown from fungus. “Sam told me about this company and I’m really glad that we used it – they look great and it’s not been done before.”

One point of contact

Clippings handled conversations with all the brands on Nina’s behalf, so she freed up her time to focus attention on other aspects of the project. “To do all the phone calls would have taken a hell of a lot of time out of my day, whereas I just got the synopsis in a nice clear little succinct email.”

The calm minimal interior, furnished with natural materials, forms an elegant contrast to the surrounding buildings and offers an elegant backdrop.

Experienced oversight, from factory to site and beyond

Nina saved time and focus in the latter phases of the project by relying on her Clippings team to make sure everything ran smoothly with getting the furniture to site on schedule. “Having someone else to chase things up is great because you really have to stay on the ball and not let something slip through the net, and otherwise that is time consuming, and boring.”

Managed logistics

All orders were placed with brands by Clippings on Nina’s behalf, and a member of the Clippings project management team booked and oversaw the logistics. “That was really helpful. There’s enough to worry about in the installation phase without worrying if something’s going to turn up on time.”

Fast solutions

When issues developed on site with some items – as Nina knew could always be the case – Clippings took care of communication with the brand and resolved the issues for her. “When you’re working with new natural materials there are a lot of things that are untested and can go wrong. It can be stressful but Sam handled it all.”

An elegant interior with a sustainable ethos

Today diners enter a rough-and-ready building and emerge into a clean, minimal, elegant and calm interior. “We wanted it to be a really beautiful elegant interior to live up to the standard of the food that Doug serves. The focal point is the food, and the interior is always the backdrop.”

The mycelium furniture provides a real talking point and is the first application of the naturally designed furniture to a contract environment at this scale. “Every element, every material, every piece of furniture has been thought about in depth to take that zero-waste ethos to another level. Silo is very innovative and to match that in the interior we were able to use interesting, innovative materials.”

All photos by Sam A Harris

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