The restaurant’s spiralling form is defined by a slender off-white concrete wall that curls upwards from the square, while large openings housing the main restaurant space offer pleasing views when approached from all sides.
With sweeping plate glass curves that employ pioneering technology, the panels within the three wider openings are retractable, completely opening up the ground floor space during fine weather and allowing the restaurant to spill onto the surrounding Duke of York Square, while the roof continues to provide shade. Although similar retraction systems have been installed outside the UK, all have used straight panels. This makes the restaurant the first example of a retractable curved glass system in the world.
The gently curving staircase, contained within the outermost limb of the building’s spiral, leads to a stylish roof garden above the restaurant, which is open and freely accessible to the public, where people can sit or spend time among the canopies of surrounding trees, raised up from the bustle of the busy square and road below.
Timber decking offers a welcoming external finish to the roof garden, while large planters embedded within the spiralling shape of the building promote biodiversity and create a comfortable environment. Soft external lighting makes it a particularly effective space at night where people can find new connections with their historical surroundings.
Photos: James Brittain