Throwback design? Bravocado!

Brightside’s unique interiors offer a sense of nostalgia with a modern edge. To find out more about the inspiration behind the restaurant’s look and feel, we sat down with Loungers’ Co-Creative Directors, Dan and Cassie for a chat about everything from avocado bathroom suites to first dates…

What was the inspiration behind Brightside’s interiors?


The inspiration behind Brightside’s interior scheme was driven by our founder Alex’s memories of going to Little Chef and Happy Eater when he was on holiday as a child. People of a certain age will remember that in the 70s and 80s, a stop-off was an integral part of people’s travel plans. We’ve tried to capture the nostalgia of family road trips and the excitement of finding somewhere to stop off that was a bit of a treat.

We looked at lots of interiors from the days of Happy Eater, caravan fit-outs and old adverts, which was really useful to refence colours and textures. We studied how they used lighting and which looks were popular at the time, and incorporated that into Brightside’s interiors. We don’t like using the word ‘retro’, but it’s a nostalgic take, using the materials of that time and reinventing them in some way.

What does a Brightside restaurant look like?


The interiors have a very cinematic quality – we like to think of them as a British take on the great American diner, combined with some English quaintness, which is quite endearing.

We’ve taken inspiration from lots of transport motifs and booth seating with 1970s bus and tube train fabrics. There’s a familiarity to the materials we’ve used, the way they look is very tactile, evoking a feeling people will remember.

The situation and landscape around Brightside Exeter is quite unique so we’re hoping when people step inside they’ll be pleasantly surprised. It’s a bit like in films such as Twin Peaks and lots of the road movies we’ve been looking at – all in the name of research, of course!

Brightside is supposed to be quite fun, too, and not too serious. The colour scheme, and especially the avocado bathroom suites, are the things that people will remember. If you don’t then it’ll be interesting and something new, but a comfort for people who do recall those design choices from back in the day.

Who do you think Brightside will appeal to?


We want Brightside to appeal to everyone. It will be nice if people slow down and take time to relax and enjoy the surroundings, rather than just grabbing something and driving off. The goal of Brightside is to allow people to pause and enjoy it, and put that element back into travel.

Brightside is for the travellers, those meeting up for work and for locals to enjoy – if you live close by, we’d love you to pop by for brunch at the weekend. You’ll feel comfortable and welcome. It’s not intimidating, it’s not too cool or brash, it’s calm and warm – a meeting place.

How would you like people to feel when they visit a Brightside restaurant?


We think there’s a romance to a Brightside – it’s quite a romantic place. It would be nice for people to walk in and feel like they’re on a movie set. Hopefully people will make a beeline for a Brightside, especially as they’ll be situated in locations with not much else around. Perhaps people will meet at Brightside for first dates and one day fall in love… that’s definitely the stuff of movies!