Conran and Partners transformed a Grade II-listed former gymnasium into a contemporary European Grand Café – glamorous yet democratic with strong allusions to its past. German Gymnasium’s history stretches back to the 1860s, with a group of German emigres founded the spacious temple to exercise and well-being. The sheer scale of the triple-height exercise hall echoes the neighbouring megastructures of St Pancras and Kings Cross.
Many of the building’s unique historic details, such as the climbing hooks in the ceiling and cast steel columns, have been retained, setting the tone for the choice of materials, colours and textures for interior detailing. Warm, walnut timber panelling and black and grey distressed leather upholstery have been juxtaposed with fresh, contemporary insertions such as the occasional pink and red tone to add depth and visual interest.