When the architects of a distinctive, spiral-shaped restaurant – a new landmark for a fashionable area of London – wanted an expert to provide a complex ceiling, it chose Hunter Douglas Architectural.
The Vardo Restaurant, at Duke of York Square, designed by Nex—, occupies a prominent position on the King’s Road and has been designed thoughtfully to complement the architecture of the adjacent grade II listed Duke of York Headquarters.
The new restaurant is a fitting addition to the Duke of York Square, which is owned by Cadogan Estates. The property investment and management company acquired the Duke of York Headquarters and redeveloped the site, with public square, housing and retail outlets, while Saatchi Gallery relocated to part of the building in 2008.
Winner of a New London award 2017 (unbuilt, hotels and hospitality), it is a visually distinctive building, defined by a spiral wall that echoes the nearby curved wall of the historic premises. Also a nod to the front façade of the Duke of York Headquarters is the series of cut outs in the wall that form a colonnade for sheltered external seating.
Hunter Douglas Architectural was specified to supply solid wood grill in ash for the restaurant ceiling after impressing Nex— with the design consultation support before construction began.
Alan Dempsey, director of Nex—, said: “We also appreciated the quality of the final product. The completed restaurant interior sounds and feels comfortable even when it’s at full capacity.”
The global architectural products company supplied 189m2 of FSC-certified and fire-rated panels, 20mm x 80mm slats, with a 100mm gap.
It was a complex design to execute, with a radialised ceiling layout with secondary cuts of 80mm width x 40mm high into the slats.
Alan said a solid wood grill ceiling was chosen because a warm material was needed to counter the stone and concrete surfaces used in the walls and floor. Ash has a warm attractive colour and a strong grain visible from a distance.
“We wanted a warm, inviting finish on the ceiling that could also beautifully conceal all the usual services required overhead,” he said.
“It was vital to our vision that the ceiling battens were arranged in a radial pattern to convey the spiralling form of the building. We designed more intricate notches into the many of the battens to lead the eye around the interior space. These were demanding design features and Hunter Douglas helped to achieve this during the design stage.”
Juliette Halliday, national sales manager at Hunter Douglas Architectural, said the beauty of using a solid wood grill system is that it is environmentally friendly, recyclable – it is certified as a Cradle to Cradle product – and durable. The system is easy to install as they are delivered as fully assembled panels and allows the ceiling to be demountable, thus providing easy access to the plenum.
“We have supplied architects of some incredibly complex and technically challenging buildings across the world and our expertise meant that we were able to provide essential advice for the spiral ceiling at Vardo,” she said. “It was undoubtedly a difficult design, but because we can create bespoke solutions, if necessary, we can help a designer to realise their vision.”