Dutch East Design were engaged to create a dynamic space for M.Bird, a rooftop bar designed to breathe new life into a historic neighborhood in Tampa, Florida.

  • area / size 3,500 sqft
  • Year 2019
  • M.Bird is a recently-opened rooftop bar atop the historical Armature Works building in Tampa Heights, Florida. Engaged for the interior design and branding for the project was New York City-based Dutch East Design.

    Located atop the fully restored mixed-use building that was originally constructed in 1910, M.Bird is helping to breathe new life into this historic neighborhood, regenerating the area into a premier community and cultural destination. Occupying approximately 3,500 square feet and perched on the 2nd floor with unobstructed views of the Hillsborough River, M.Bird was a collaboration between Dutch East Design, the developer of Armature Works, the hospitality group BE1 concepts, and Noel Cruz, a renowned Tampa based restaurateur.

    At the entrance to the venue, a giant geometric mural wraps the exterior wall, cleverly coordinated with the pattern of repetitive sconces to draw the eyesight of customers up the stairs and lure them into the bar. Dutch East Design created the collection of custom lighting specific to this project – a reflection and testament to the breadth of their design scope. This lighting greets guests at the vestibules which lead you into the space.

    M. Bird commands views of the distant downtown Tampa, facing west to catch the surreal Florida sunsets. Conceived as an outdoor bar and lounge, the venue is divided into two areas, half of which is undercover and half open to the sky. Featuring a dramatic high roof on one side, the undercover space has exposed trusses clad in tropical hardwood and painted a lush green, indicative of Florida flora. This area is decorated with an array of custom pendant lights. The open area receives shade from the umbrellas and palm trees that flank the central seating section.

    Tropical plants are sprinkled throughout the cocktail lounge to divide the larger floor plan into smaller, more intimate areas. While M.Bird seating is predominantly at lounge and dining height throughout the space, a high-energy area facing the long terrazzo bar also serves as the venue’s hub, outfitted with high top tables and tall upholstered benches. All Dutch East Design custom-built seating prioritizes socializing and comfort while never sacrificing elegance.

    Generating a dynamic atmosphere while also answering to the venue’s functional needs, Dutch East Design’s mission was to complement the historic Armature Works’ structure with a nostalgic yet avant-garde design that establishes the venue’s buzzing atmosphere and evokes the spirit and vibrancy of Brazillian Modernism. At the core of M.bird’s design is the clever use of vibrant, warm millwork integrating the venue into the existing industrial structure. Additionally, a palette consisting of playful, geometric tiles and pavers seen throughout the space proactively capture the vibrant mood through its contemporary approach. The restaurant and bar was aptly named for its abbreviation of Florida’s state bird, the mockingbird; the design was to be deeply-rooted in its tropical locale, so too in its naming.

    Design: Dutch East Design
    Photography: Seamus Payne