It’s safe to say that rural Oxfordshire is not the first place you would think of to find a 1950’s all inspired American diner. If you travel west out of Oxford for 30 miles on the A420 though, you’ll soon arrive at the red neon lights welcoming you to Mollies Motel and Diner.
Mollies is something of a retro revival with arguably its most seductive appeal being the attention to nostalgic details. Teal leather booths, geometric tiled floors and spherical pendant lamps lining a chrome bar running the full length of the restaurant bring a sleek effortless glamour that keeps the vibe cool and the style undeniably timeless in appeal - just the kind of design narrative we love at RUSKIN.
Mollies is the latest creative endeavour from luxury hospitality company Soho House a global empire of members clubs, restaurants, spas and product lines which in the past few years has opened The Ned in central London hotel, and Soho Farmhouse in the Cotswolds, Oxfordshire.
Of course you go to Mollies Motel and Diner for the syrup soaked pancakes, french toast, eggs and bacon, hand-spun milkshakes and all the other good things synonymous with a diner. You also visit Mollies to overnight in the motel which has minimal rooms characterized by lots of natural wood, clean lines, high functionality and a timelessly chic, neutral palette that goes a long way in achieving the desired tranquility.
At the entrance to the motel is The General Store, a cool multi-purpose space, flooded with natural light, offering up every reason for guests and passers by to lounge and linger. With a distinctly modern classic aesthetic, the sort that always has people reaching for Scandi comparisons, the parallels are easy to discern. Teal blues, burnt oranges and olive greens offset against dusty pinks and caramel golds, create balance and warmth while the enduring appeal of wood and natural light, blend well with the carefully curated collection of furniture, both old and new. Ornaments that the Soho House design team have sourced from local antique markets tell their own stories while a small but eclectic array of art, design and photography books nestle on the fabulous mid century bookcases to encourage such lingering.
We have just wrapped up our most recent campaign shoot at Mollies with Benedict Browne of the London based men's magazine, The Jackal. When we choose a location to shoot in we are always looking for a backdrop that excites, intrigues and compliments our collection, one that is defined by simple lines and purity of design with a simultaneously contemporary expression - Mollies certainly did not disappoint!
In an attempt to breath new life into the roadside diner experience, Mollies makes the most of its slight remove with ample parking, easy proximity to Oxford and the Cotswolds and is just a short distance from the M40 motorway north and south. Mollies is refreshingly well-executed, especially in an area of heavy weights when it comes to stately homes, iconic university buildings and thatched medieval villages. The greatest appeal of Mollie’s though is in no small part due to the cool blend of Scandi simplicity offset by mid century modernism that lends an air of throwback glamour.
With gratitude to the wonderful staff at Mollies.