Architects and designers SHH have brought together and led an all-star team – including furniture designer Stefan Bench, lighting designers .PSLAB and Chelsea Flower Show double-gold medallist garden designer Kate Gould – to create two stunning new restaurant spaces within one of London’s greatest 20th century architectural landmarks, the Barbican Centre.
SHH answered a brief from the Barbican to make the most of the location within this iconic building envelope, in order to create the new environments, which encompassed both the former 450sq m ground floor café, now a restaurant and shop, re‐branded as ‘Barbican Foodhall’, and the first floor bar and restaurant ‐ now ‘Barbican Lounge’, as well as the outdoor terrace spaces for both venues.
The ground floor is spatially divided into multiple seating areas by means of low ceiling levels, due to the duct system and various seating layouts. .PSLAB accentuated this division by breaking the space using vertical elements throughout, whilst maintaining the idea of transparency and light. Floor‐to ‐ceiling shelving structures were developed, holding multiple glass jars housing energy‐saving light bulbs. The lacquered steel metal structure complements the roughness of the space, using the glass olive jars as a humble reference to food. The jar‐shelving structures were then adapted into ceiling suspended modules to provide functional light. This was concentrated over the cashier and food display counters, as well as the long dining tables. Smaller modules of these shelves were repeated into wall‐mounted fixtures over the seating booths. The ceiling fixtures were suspended at a level where the jars aligned with the vertical jar structures, keeping a strong visual link throughout the space. In the two remaining sections, the layout of the tables is consistent with that of the ceiling coffers.