Resurrecting a building
Urban Edge Group
£ 2.1 million
Concept to Completion
It is hard to imagine a time when Shoreditch was almost exclusively occupied by businesses or that the Eyre Brothers, now a firmly established neighborhood restaurant, was once a derelict printworks. But in 2001 this was the Leonard Street we were instructed to work on, on a site nestled between St Michael’s, a Grade I listed church, and Victoria Chambers, a Grade II listed school house.
The original 1950s structure was to remain, but was to appear as an entirely new building. Rather than a straightforward roof extension new floors were devised as a sleeve overlaying the existing floors, rejuvenating the façade and providing a greater internal area.
A light-weight cladding system of untreated cedar acts as a rain screen over half the facade protecting the insulated timber studwork and as a balustrade in front of the full height windows over the other half of the building.
A single language was used for both the interior and exterior. Timber defines the internal uses, with the top two floors of live/work apartments finished in douglas fir lending them a warm glow.
On the ground floor, behind a giant plate glass window is the Eyre Brothers restaurant. Its attention to quality and comfort, combined with a decorative sparseness which leaves diners to concentrate on the food and the company, set a distinct aesthetic for the area.
To achieve this contrast, we used stainless steel, white body glass and bright lighting for the open kitchen, emphasising functionality and efficiency, whilst the dining area is composed of warm, sustainable hardwoods, along with leather, bronze, coloured glass, and minimal, diffused lighting.
As the evening draws in, the outside aspects become less visible and diners become silhouetted against the warm backlight, enticing passersby.