The Holburne, a museum housed in a Grade 1 listed building at the entrance to the Sydney Pleasure Gardens in Bath, was recently restored and wonderfully extended by Eric Parry Architects. The Garden Café is situated at the heart of the scheme, in the ground floor of the new extension, where Benugo asked Softroom to create a café for around 55 people, including a servery where food could be prepared.
Being largely glazed meant that the space could have felt exposed and uncomfortable in the winter months, so the recessed lighting was replaced with glowing pendants over the tables to add warmth
and focus. A central island display helps link together the two halves of the room, which could have felt too separated by the route to the garden running through the middle of the space.
The café has been an overwhelming success. The painted ceiling adds intimacy and helps link the space visually with the ceramic cladding of the building above and the greenery of the gardens all around. Other details, such as the oak tables and Wegner chairs by Carl Hansen and the glass pendant fittings by Classicon resonate with the essential and contemporary qualities of the architecture.
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