The Feng Shui advantage
When I was invited down to Rick Stein’s gourmet metropolis in Cornwall for a Feng Shui assessment of a new café/restaurant opening there, I leapt at the chance. As I stepped off the bus at Padstow and walked towards the quay my heart skipped a beat. Directly in front of me was an image similar to the ones in the centre of my current Vision Board. Up until now I hadn’t realised what I’d been looking at were lobsters, although I assumed it was a sea creature of some description. Now I'm stood right opposite the lobster ‘maternity ward’ at the Marine Conservation centre and I’m left in no doubt. “I’m in the right place then,” me thinks.
When Sharon and Ian took over Greens café as a going concern, they picked up the baton from two local families who had established it nearly 20 years earlier, along with the crazy golf course above it. It’s located at the far side of the harbour in North Quay and has a view to die for. However catering had been limited to homemade cakes and serving tea.
10 years on the café was groaning under the additional footfall with people desperate to sit out on the terrace and no customer toilet on site. Once the 2016 season was over, it was time for Sharon and Ian to make their move. The existing buildings were demolished and new footings laid for the café/restaurant that would provide more comfortable accommodation for customers and staff.
Cedar-clad and modelled on the style of a Scandinavian boat house with a pitched zinc roof, it has large windows that open up entirely onto the terrace with panoramic views of Padstow harbour and the Camel Estuary. Quirky, warm, and with lots of interesting textures, it will certainly gain tops marks for good ‘hygge’ and receive a massive commendation for its creative verve.
Created with passion, delivered with love
Cramming in extra covers to achieve more profit was not their prime motivation and because of this I’m sure it will be a rip-roaring success. The comfort of guests and staff was uppermost and the need to address the limitations of the previous café. There was a desire to broaden the menu of this family eatery to include vegan and gluten-free options. Also a desire to lengthen the season so the local community might use the Café for other events and classes outside the peak tourist months.
I wanted to visit on my own and make an initial Feng Shui assessment before meeting with Sharon the next day. It was still very much a building site and I had come prepared in my walking boots and neeed to to be decked out in a hard helmet and a luminous green jacket. The next day Sharon and I poured over the architect’s plans, the interior design visuals, and the proposed furniture and accessories. I was very impressed with their imaginative colour schemes and the variety of thoughtful textures.
The 5 basic Elements – Water, Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal
Green’s is an ambitious undertaking in three stages and I was here to review the first stage – the restaurant itself.
Stage 2 will see a total revision of the Crazy Golf course which is currently a mound of earth at the back of the restaurant and will include a viewing platform over the estuary.
Stage 3 will be the addition of a typical Cornish garden open to the public on the uppermost tier of the site – a little Eden Project, both beautiful and educational.
My focus during this first visit was to review the location, the building infrastructure and the usage of the interior spaces; we had to consider the back of house hot-food kitchen, bakery and staff relaxation areas oftentimes neglected as well as the visible spaces to the public. Sharon's instinct was to avoid this.
I assessed the general flow of energy throughout the whole site and paid attention to the entrances - from the public footpath and into the restaurant itself (what we refer to as the ‘mouth of chi’) to make sure the flow is steady, well-directed and undeterred.
I took into account the site aspect and its effect on the interior and how to balance this with appropriate colour, lighting and accessories. We discussed appropriate signage and enhancements using mirrors and planters to give direction to flow and to manage the flight paths of staff (serving both inside and outside the restaurant) and the arrival and departure of customers so the two worlds didn't collide.
I called on the 5 Basic Elements to ensure overall balance relative to the building’s purpose. In particular I wanted to make sure the essential nature of the enterprise (Wood element) was well represented and supported by its feeder (Water element) and not over-powered by its control (Metal element). This was already beginning to happen from the plans and was rectified. If this had continued, the enterprise would lose vitality and presence unnecessarily.
I celebrated a thoroughly enjoyable job well done with a plateful of Rick Stein’s Fish and Chips. But only after I’d visited thousands of baby lobsters, each smaller than my thumb nail, in their nursery.
Fortunate was I to be in Padstow in May. I’m told July and August can get so busy with people and pushchairs you could end up over the side of the harbour with the lobsters.
Greens of Padstow opens its doors on 21st July. If you’re down that way I highly recommend you pay a visit. It’s going to be AMAZING.
And here’s the feedback from a happy client
“Thank you for your detailed and informative Feng Shui report and for sending it so promptly. It was very useful to have before the staff meeting, and before our site progress meeting and the architect was really interested too.
Your visit was timed perfectly to enable us to ‘tweak’ some of the materials we were using to more directly support the elemental aspects of the site. It has also given us a good ‘steer’ for choosing the finishing touches that will bring everything together.
This process added another dimension to the whole building project, making it more meaningful – and somehow bringing it to ‘life’. It has also raised our awareness to the energy of, and our intentions for, this new home for our ‘new’ business.
It felt like a very creative time we spent together, on site and in discussion before and after your visit, and I really appreciated your input. It stimulated lots of ideas and took us in new directions too that I know will benefit the space. Thank you!”