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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Cadogan Café in Chelsea, London by NEX

January 8th, 2013 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: NEX

NEX has won the Cadogan Café design competition, a £2 million project for a new café, which will sit near the entrance to the Saatchi Gallery in Duke of York Square in Chelsea. Widely regarded as an emerging force, NEX were shortlisted from a field of 147 international applicants and saw off strong opposition from finalists Architecture 00, Carmody Groarke, Duggan Morris Architects, Pernilla Ohrstedt & Sarah Price, and Taylor Snell.

View of cafe interior from west side : Image Courtesy NEX

  • Architects: NEX
  • Project: Cadogan Café
  • Location: Kings Road ,Chelsea, London, UK
  • Key Dates: Competition Sept-Dec 2012, Completion March April 2015
  • Value: £2 Million
  • Area: 300M2
  • Collaborators: AKT II Structural Engineering, Equals Cost Control, Atelier 10 Environmental Engineering. DHA Designs Lighting.

Indicative atmosphere of square at night : Image Courtesy NEX

The team’s winning design, an organic coiled form, features a roof terrace and incorporates an ingenious glass wall that rises and falls depending on the weather.

Study model of the curved wall becoming a coil. : Image Courtesy NEX

Inspired by the adjacent Grade II listed wall, the Cafe is defined by a new wall that traces a contemporary arc to coil around itself to enclose a space progressing from outside to inside in layers. Echoing the front facade of the Duke of York Headquarters, the new wall is cut in places to form a colonnade for sheltered external seating.

Study of the ground plane being peeled and elevated to create a new elevated public space : Image Courtesy NEX

On the ground level, glazed walls can be fully retracted to allow free-flowing movement of people and air between inside and outside during warm weather. At roof level, the cafe will offer a new external space for people to sit and drink in high-level views of the square and its surroundings.

View from ‘block A’ office roof looking west over square : Image Courtesy NEX

Hugh Seaborn, Chief Executive of the Cadogan Estate said, ‘The Jury was won over by NEX’s design, which combines functionality with a sense of elegant self-containment – their building will be sleek as well as inventive and fun.
‘We think it will intrigue passers-by and become a mini-landmark on the King’s Road. We look forward to working with the team as they develop their design for planning.’

View from the Kings Road : Image Courtesy NEX

Malcolm Reading, competition organiser and Chair of the Jury commented, ‘The Jury engaged in an architectural discussion with the teams that far exceeded the brief. This competition was exceptional in producing diverse, creative solutions but, nonetheless, we arrived at a unanimous decision.’

Architectural concept: Ribbon wall : Image Courtesy NEX

NEX Director Alan Dempsey said the practice was pleased to have won, ‘We are really delighted that our proposals for the new Cadogan Café have been selected as the winner in this hard fought competition. It was a challenging brief to respond to, and we were fascinated by the opportunity of mixing leisure and public realm uses in such a concentrated form.

Assembly of elements : Image Courtesy NEX

‘After thorough analysis, we were convinced that the best approach was an architecture which resonated with the architectural heritage of the site, while providing a contemporary space that has flexibility for year round use. This was the best competition we’ve entered and we are very much looking forward to working with the Cadogan Estate and designing in dialogue with them for a renewed café and Duke of York Square.’

Structural detail : Image Courtesy NEX

Leading a team which included AKT II, Equals Cost Consultants, Atelier 10, DHA Design and The Enterprise Collective at the University of the Arts Chelsea, Nex will now work with the Cadogan Estate to develop their design for the new café.

Duke of York Masterplan : Image Courtesy NEX

NEX Profile

Founded in 2008 by Alan Dempsey, NEX is an award winning London based studio working at the intersections of design, architecture, and infrastructure. NEX specialise in creating extraordinary spaces with ordinary means by combining a transformative approach to design, a collaborative openness to project realisation, and a detailed knowledge of production processes.

First floor, ground floor and basement plan : Image Courtesy NEX

Use scenarios – A Cafe for all seasons : Image Courtesy NEX

Contact NEX

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Category: Cafe

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