German Gymnasium


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. 

Working closely with the developers build team and architect – Allies and Morrison, the practice sought to reconfigure everything within the shell of the building to allow it to function as a hospitality space; the reinstatement of the open grandeur of the great hall combined with all of the amenities of an ambitious 21st-century restaurant.
Conran and Partners returned the triple-height space back to its former glory as part of the refurbishment, exposing and celebrating the striking ceiling and its supporting arches. The main restaurant and bar are both located on the ground level. The seating has been carefully zoned to create a choice of experiences within the space. Dramatic new twin staircases ascend to the mezzanine level, which offers more intimate dining areas and cocktail bar.

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.