SPRING AT SOMERSET HOUSE
New London Restaurant fit out at Somerset House, a major arts and cultural centre in the heart of London. The Somerset House complex is a Grade I Listed Building sited on the North shores of the Thames in the Council of Westminster. The building occupies an extensive area north of Victoria Embankment and east of Lancaster Place, off Waterloo Bridge.
The proposal is a sensitive and functional intervention for a fine dining restaurant facility within the historic building fabric.
The front of house facilities of the Restaurant occupy the ground floor of the newly refurbished west wing of the building with back of house accommodations on the two corresponding lower levels. The main entrance off the busy surrounding streets is via an internal colonnaded gallery. The overall occupied area is of 726 m2 (7813 sq.ft.).
The restaurant design is a reflection of the aspirations of the head chef Skye Gyngell and her partner Marie Jackson to provide a special and serene culinary and sensory experience for their guests. One of the key elements provided by the proposal is to introduce to London a dining garden area reminiscing of an 'al fresco' casual eating experience all year round.
The project presented challenges in the integration of modern and efficient services systems within a protected but ageing building fabric. The architecture and the interior appearance of the ground floor is a collaboration of Stuart Forbes with an Australian Interior Designer Briony Fitzgerald, achieving a distinctive and subtle design which relies on outstanding quality finishes and spaces organisation.
The new dining garden is an area carved out from an existing internal lightwell infilling the floor and adding a new modern glazed roof structure creating an intimate separate dining experience assisted by a pleasant urban landscape.
The Restaurant features two separate bars, one serving the entry area and the second providing service to the main dining space. Architectural solutions were devised singularly for each space to respond to specific client business and working practices.
The restaurant refurbishment sees Stuart Forbes collaborating with exciting artists providing an appropriate backdrop to their artwork.