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Lisa’s vision brings national Café Design of the Year Award home to Derby

Oliver’s café on Friar Gate has won the Café Design of the Year Award from the Café Life Association for its innovative and commercially viable design.


Café owner and the woman responsible for the design, Lisa Bridge was presented with the award at a ceremony hosted by celebrity chef Theo Randall held at the Grange City Hotel in London.

The Café Life Awards recognise the very best café food, drink and design from both independently owned and café chains across the country and Oliver’s was the only café in the region to be shortlisted.

Lisa has previously worked on numerous commercial design projects, including Birchover Residences’ portfolio of luxury apartment-hotels, which she jointly owns with her husband Carl.

When Lisa began designing the café she selected each individual fitting and fixture with the customer experience in mind, even down to the padded chair legs to avoid squeaking across the floor.

Lisa was also keen to use local businesses to complete the work to bring her vision to life. Central to the décor are the cosy booths crafted by her uncle, Martin Bradley; the bespoke, handmade lighting created by Upcycled Creative based at Cromford Mills; and the local photography of Friar Gate which fills the far wall as you enter the café taken by Mark Averill Photography. 

Lisa’s personality runs throughout. The café itself is named after Lisa and Carl’s first son, who died at birth in 2003. Lisa had always wanted to pay tribute to him and the café is a labour of love for her.

Photos of her sons Oscar and Will also adorn the café walls, including some in the toilets with them balancing toilet rolls on their heads.

Commenting on the win, Lisa said:

“I am absolutely thrilled to have won this award. I always knew I wanted to use natural materials, warm colours and soft, comfortable furnishings to make Oliver’s as

comfortable as possible. Our menu and interiors have been designed for customers to enjoy and it’s so exciting to be acknowledged in such a highly competitive industry.

“It is really important to me that the craftsmen who helped me make my vision for Oliver’s a reality get huge recognition for their work too. They have made Oliver’s what it is today.”

Sam Day, from the Café Life Awards, added:

"Oliver's has a great back story and the design demonstrates the labour of love that owner Lisa has put in to creating the space. The judges loved the ambience that has been created with the cosy booths and intimate lighting.

"Winners like Oliver's showcase the developments within the industry and the need to demonstrate creativity. Oliver's has a unique design that showcases the coffee shops' personality without compromising on comfort. The team at Oliver's have responded to the growing café culture and developed a business that serves the local community whether passing by for a quick coffee or enjoying lunch with a friend."


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