Cadogan Cafe, Chelsea

  • Value: Undisclosed
  • Client: Cadogan Estate
  • Status: Competition

It was the intention of this project, to place a refined and sculpturally crafted building into the Duke of York Square, chelsea as a memorable and unique landmark. Its core tenet is as a cafe, however it is possible to envisage a layering of suitable uses enrighsing the experience of the cafe goer, and in so doing offer and envivornment which has an integrated programme of cultural activities and exchange.

As a starting point, we have considered the spatial dynamics of the square itself. It is easier to describe The Duke of York Square as an eddy along the fluid flow of The Kings Road. The edges of this space are not as clearly defined as a traditional square, with openings, gaps and voids generating a far softer and perhaps visually leaky space; a low iron railing edging a running track to the south; a refurbished Grade II* listed former Chapel to the west; a new commercial building to the east; and the Kings Road to the north.

The new cafe is a free standing pavilion with a refined and sophisticated self expressive material palette; a singularity of colour tinted terrazzo used for walls, roof, floor and ceilings. The ambition, is for the internal spaces and the perimeter landscape to overlap, where the thresholds between both can be inhabited in some way, ensuring a layered experiences. We believe this to be a fundamental, with neither square, terrace or acfe spaces redundant in the compositio0n. Instead the space, from any view point, is energised and active. Whilst simple in concept, complexity is introduced through means of a shift in axis between internal spaces, and roof form, which is pentagonal in plan. The building will thus read as a highly sculputral piece, an identifiable landmark, with it’s permanence or ‘stillness’ read in stark contrast to the supporting programme which is non-determined, non-fixed and expansive.

With large cantilevers created by the twisted roof form, framining views in and out, the space between the ‘enclosed’ internal spaces and the leading edge of the roof form is covered creating occupied thresholds around the building animating the square with colour, texture and activity. The plan configured as two linked spaces, creating a range of internal spatial experiences. These two spaces are fragmented across a split section, with raked edges to provide seating for coffee drinkers as well as those watching an event or viewing an art piece. We anticipate that an integrated cultural programme would be defined by activities which contrasat by compliment, the Saatchi Gallery. This programme would perhaps be facilitated by the cross disciplinary arts sector, through artists which are perhaps emerging and bringing a critical discursive voice to the experience of the cafe, where the off-beat and implausible would sit side by side with the everyday.

Above all, we anticipate the cafe will come to represent a destination for discourse and dining.

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