Collaborative Design unveils ambitious expansion plans

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The award-nominated interior design firm, Collaborative Design has unveiled ambitious expansion plans as it looks to grow beyond the North East and continue to build its team of talented designers. 

Collaborative Design MD Chris Sutton at Barluga Gosforth

The Newcastle-based company has announced today that it is setting its sights on larger-scale projects across the UK and abroad, having established itself as one of the go-to interior design firms for Newcastle’s independent bars, clubs and restaurants. 

Over the last two decades, Collaborative Design’s Managing Director, Chris Sutton, has designed some of Newcastle’s most impressive venues. Notably, Gosforth’s Barluga – an impressive bar and restaurant located within the walls of a converted church – is one of the company’s most memorable designs. 

Chris Sutton explains: “With a good budget and an amazing space of a converted church, we were given free rein to create the new incarnation of the Barluga brand, receiving accolades and a nomination for Bar/Restaurant of the year at the Northern Design awards.”

The new look Tup Tup Palace

Over the last 15 years, Sutton has also worked with one of the North East’s most successful late-night haunts, Tup Tup Palace Nightclub, designing the original concept and working regularly with the venue since, reinventing the space to keep up with ever-changing tastes and trends. Loja Lounge on Tup Tup Palace’s first floor and the previous iteration of the popular club ‘TheCut’ also has Collaborative Design to thank for their striking interiors. .

I created the original concept for Tup Tup Palace 15 years ago,” continues Chris. 

Changing it from Bar M as it was back then into the now, Tup Tup Palace, which has remained the most successful late-night venue in the Northeast ever since, since then I have worked on the club, updating and reinventing it, on an almost yearly basis. 

Now, the company is looking further afield, both in terms of expansion throughout the country and the sectors it serves.

Having designed numerous pop-up venues seen across Newcastle in recent years, including Lazy Bear, Urban Garden and Jesmond Beach Box – to name but a few – Collaborative Design is now looking to expand into the UK festival market. 

The firm’s sister company Bilateral Design Limited is also in talks for a large hotel resort project off the African coast valued at $60 million. 


Through the project, Collaborative Design Limited will carry out the majority of the work which could take anywhere between 2-4 years and provide further capital for the firm to expand its UK and international portfolio. 

Sutton began his career with the BBC, designing bars, restaurants and other social spaces at the BBC Television Centre and other locations across the South East. He later joined the award-winning nightclub design firm, GMP, before migrating to Newcastle, the city he has called home for the last 26 years. 

He joined the UK’s largest leisure design firm at the time, Blueprint Interior Design, where he spent 10 years working on high-profile projects and rising up the ranks to the position of associate director. He later turned his attention to major hospitality firms, working in house for the Apartment Group and Euro Hostels, helping both brands create new concepts and expand their venues across the UK. 

In 2016, with a wealth of experience under his belt, Sutton set out on his own to launch Collaborative Design Limited,working primarily on licensed premise operations throughout the North East.

About Collaborative Design 

Collaborative Design works on projects from their infancy right through to their completion. For clients looking for a new site, the company helps source potential sites, advising on the likelihood of securing a licence and planning permission, and analysing the premises’ operational and geographical potential. 

Once a site has been secured the firm surveys the site, produces plans, applies for licenses and other permissions before moving onto the exciting part; designing the full concept for the venue, including artist impressions and walk-through animations of the space.

Beyond this stage we would produce full drawings (shop fitting packages) for all the works and usually organise the tendering process to enable the client to have a full costed project, we would then see the project on site from start to completion ensuring the workmanship and the customer experience is of the highest quality. 

Collaborative Design: Established and trusted Bar designers Newcastle
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