The Great Court Restaurant, British Museum, London
Situated on the mezzanine floor above the Reading Room at London’s British Museum is a new jewel in the crown. London is a city famed for it’s galleries and museums, and the Norman Foster designed Great Court placed this museum back on the map as an architectural masterpiece not only enjoyed by tourists but us Londoners too, and we all need another excuse to visit this magnificent space.
Softroom, the team responsible for the new design of the museums restaurant, are a Soho based architectural practice responsible for some rather magnificent spaces including Virgin Atlantic’s Clubhouse at T3, and the more unusual Kielder Belvedere, a wonderfully contemporary walkers shelter in Kielder National Park. Softroom created Wahaca’s shipping container restaurant on London’s Southbank all the way to the 6,000 SqM Balcony food hall at London’s Westfield shopping centre. From hotels to airspaces, Softroom are the go-to team when you need are looking to create a masterpiece within an already killer space. You only have to visit the The Sackler Centre at the V&A or Wallace Collection to see how both old and new spaces can be fused together so beautifully.
Softroom were the obvious choice. The space needed a fresh eye, and a radical hit of contemporary, and with such competition in London for restaurants with equally wondrous surroundings, Softroom had to be bold. I’d say that’s pretty much is their USP anyway. The kitchen, run by the Benugo chain (who also run the oh so beautiful V&A café) serves a brasserie style menu with the restaurant featuring more intimate areas, either side of the main space for a quieter lunch if you are so inclined. I know i’d love to pull a group of friends together and sit up in this nook for the afternoon wouldn’t you? I only hope that when I visit these dining chairs below are the real Neri & Hu Solo chairs and not copies. Same goes for the Aria floor lamps by Orsjo in restaurant entrance. I hate a copy, and no matter how much a design team may want the real thing, often it’s those naughty procurement companies that cut corners and make copies. Not cool. If you’ve been to Jason Atherton’s Pollen Street Social restaurant, these are the same stools as he has at his pudding station.
British Museum, Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG
Photography Copyright Benugo & Simon Kennedy