Café Design: Dulwich Picture Gallery

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ABDA design café space

We were privileged to be involved in the café design and refurbishment of the space at Dulwich Picture Gallery. Opened for the first time to visitors in 1817, Dulwich Picture Gallery is the world’s first purpose built public art gallery.

The café is situated in the modern extension, designed by Rich Mather Architects, adjacent to the original building. Remaining sympathetic to the architects original design was imperative when working in a building steeped in history. We were tasked with creating an inviting, stylish and simplistic space, which would not only be open to the public but that needed to offer flexibility and functionality for private events.

Behind the café design:

Natural finishes were used throughout the demise. A rich walnut veneer clad wall projects warmth into the otherwise minimalistic space. Whilst the colour palette remains neutral, high quality finishes such as polished plaster walls and a poured resin floor subtly add texture and interest.

The café design prioritised operational practicality at the forefront. By day the counter top is covered with a delicious array of cakes and pastries and the glass display is filled with an abundance of mouth-watering salads.  For functions and events, the chilled display can be transformed into a large ice well showcasing a selection of champagnes and fine wines. Manufactured from solid polished marble, the counter gives the room a classic feel whilst Philippe Starck chairs lend a modern edge.

Since reopening in the summer of 2013 – following our refurbishment, the café increased overall revenue by an impressive 60% in the first three months of trading. Given the outstanding success of the cafe, we were approached to fit out the interiors of the Mather designed Sackler Arts Centre – visit our news page here to find out more about this specific project.



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