Dulwich Picture Gallery Café

Dulwich Picture Gallery was opened for the first time to visitors in 1817 and was the world’s first purpose-built public art gallery. We were asked to do the design and refurbishment of the café, which is situated in a modern extension, adjacent to the original building. It was important that our work was sympathetic to the architect’s original design to maintain that heritage. Storytelling always features heavily in an ABDA design as we love to bring in the history of a building even when it needs a modern edge.

As well making sure the café was enticing for members of the public, it also needed to be functional for private events. By day, the countertop is covered with delicious cakes and pastries and the glass display is filled with 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. To help our clients to maximise revenue, we regularly ensure that all open space is used wisely, and this art gallery is a great example of that.

Natural finishes were used throughout the project to add warmth into a minimalistic space. Our team included high quality finishes such as polished plaster walls and a poured resin floor to add texture and interest. The counter is manufactured from solid polished marble, for a classic feel, whilst Philippe Starck chairs add a modern edge.

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