The atmosphere of a London pub lives on at the historic Café Royal
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The classic atmosphere of a London pub lives on at the historic Café Royal

Lissoni Casal Ribeiro

The atmosphere of a London pub lives on at the historic Café Royal
By Editorial Staff -
Paolo Castelli Spa has participated in the project

Clean geometries, warm dark tones and soft lighting: contemporary design and classic style come together in Lissoni Casal Ribeiro’s design for the common areas of the Hotel Café Royal in London.

Tucked between the Mayfair and Soho districts in the heart of the British capital, in 2012 David Chipperfield converted the historic Café Royal into a luxury hotel. A few years later, Lissoni Casal Ribeiro’s design enhanced the conversion by reorganizing its spaces and redesigning both furnishings and cladding in the common areas. While maintaining the venue’s late 19th-century historical structure, the firm’s input offers a modern reinterpretation of a London pub atmosphere.

Accomplished designer Piero Lissoni expertly combines rigorous architecture with elegant design. Based in Milan and New York, Lissoni & Partners has worked on international architecture and interior design projects for over 30 years. David Lopez Quincoces, Stefano Castelli and Pino Caliandro were the lead designers on the Hotel Café Royal commission.

The hotel’s “Ten Room” is accessed via a revolving door on Air Street, a side street off well-known Regent Street, close to Piccadilly Circus. A precious custom-made Murano glass chandelier, descending above the circular polished brass table with a green Guatemala marble top, takes pride of place in the large, double-height lobby. Reprised in two parallelepipeds that define the reception counters, the metal finish creates a material link with the decorative elements that here were previously, for example the capitals of the columns. The reception area has a backlit wall of etched glass as a backdrop; two lounges to the sides offer customers a welcome area. Adjacent to this, the concierge desk is a more intimate space, its walls lined with flamed oak bookcases.

The same wooden finish is reprised on the first floor in low, neoclassical-style boiserie paneling on the restaurant’s walls. Here, around the perimeter on the balcony overlooking the lobby, the tables are flanked by Vienna straw armchairs and custom-made sofas. Next door, a sushi bar is located in front of the wine display cases that, through a glass bottom, allow glimpses of French chef Laurent Tourondel’s kitchen, transforming this space from a service environment to an element in dialogue with the surrounding rooms, including the restaurant itself, onto which it opens through a window in the space between two existing pilasters.

The first floor also hosts a bar room looking out onto Regent Street, where flamed oak boiserie, this time full height, enters into dialogue with a mirrored Barrisol stretch ceiling that both surprises visitors and multiplies the space. Behind the counter, a backlit honey-colored onyx wall provides shelving for bottle storage.

Lissoni’s concept for colors and materials combines the dark tones of oak boiserie with the brightness of brass, which features in the furnishings in a polished, burnished finish. Upholstered seat fabrics provide soft tones, while the Guatemala green marble returns on the first floor for the restaurant’s table tops and the bar counter. All spaces benefit from attention lavished on the lighting, creating an effect that renders a poetic contrast against the darkness.

Location: London, UK 
Client: Barco Investments
Completion: 2018
Gross Floor Area: 900 m2
Interior Design: Lissoni Casal Ribeiro
Interiors Contractor: Paolo Castelli Spa

Photography by Simone Bossi, courtesy of Lissoni Casal Ribeiro

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