Design News: From Mark Heeler Designer & Maker

Heston Blumenthal Mechanical Sweet Shop Dolls House - Watch Video below...

How the story begins... 

It all started with being hand selected from a long list of some the best craftsmen and artisans in the UK to collaborate on a very special project with one of the world’s leading design and innovation companies, Seymourpowell! Not only was this awesome in its own right... But to add to that the project was for one of the worlds top chefs Heston Blumenthal for his three Michelin star restaurant The Fat Duck! The Sweet Shop is a spectacular showpiece to present and serve the final course of the meal at the Fat Duck in Bray.

The entire Sweet Shop is completely bespoke and took a total of 9 months to plan and only 3.5 months for us to build and lots of late nights with the longest day being 27 hours solid.

The actual house is designed to mimic the Fat Duck in Bray as if it was an old Victorian sweet shop. The Sweet Shop is made with a mixture of materials Solid Ebony, Oak, English Walnut, Mahogany and Brass, Bronze and Copper.

The frontage is made from solid Ebony obtained from a sustainable source and Ash with hand-painted Victorian gold leaf signage. With Four Victorian style sash windows and curved solid Ebony frontage, the windows pains have been carefully cut from microscopic slides to show off the 60 hand blown miniature sweet jars filled with actual real sweets!

Each hand-cut Mahogany roof tile has been scorched in hot sand to add texture and age. The inside of the roof has beautiful miniature Oak floorboards that compliment’s the Oak beams. The attics have been designed to create a stunning sweet shop laboratory on one side and a model of Heston's childhood bedroom on the other.

The base is made from Walnut with Four hand turned pillars, the top and bottom beaded moulding are made from a single steam bent piece of Walnut to create a seamless moulding around the edge. I felt I had to push the boundaries on this project and experimentation was an important part as this is the heart of many of Heston famous meals so it seemed fitting.

The beautiful brass mechanism has been designed to work as in conjunction with the house. By slowly turning the solid brass handle the mechanism moves silently and in harmony with the top revealing Heston's delightful 48 draws full of tasty delights.

"Each diner is then invited to insert a coin they'd received as part of an earlier course, triggering the sweet shop to burst into life once again. The 48 drawers begin to 'magically' open and close of their own accord, as if the sweet shop has a life of its own, before finally coming to rest with one drawer left open for the diner. Each diner is then presented with the contents of the drawer in a sweet scoop: a bespoke piece of confectionery customised to the individual's tastes that surprises, delights and mystifies diners."

Ever since I can remember I've been making many projects with my very talented Grandfather. The mechanism for this dolls house was by far the greatest project we have worked on together and I'm very thankful to get to work with him on this very special project. His lifetime of engineering experience, he has taught me over the years certainly elevates my capabilities within this style of craftsmanship.

Check out this video of Heston showing you round his newly refurbished restaurant the Fat Duck and explaining his unique new menu.

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Press Featured in...

Heston sweetshop featured in British GQ magazine