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A view of the front facade composed of precast concrete, rough render and perforated concrete blocks. The windows are highly reflective - the inside world does not reveal itself to the street. Image by Forbes Massie.
Project: Bistrotheque

Project facts

Client: Bistroteque
Date: Planning expected 2020
Location: Bethnal Green, London
Size: 1570m²

Project description

The brief from these East End trailblazers was to replace their existing two storey converted warehouse with a larger cultural venue to include a theatre, bar, restaurant spaces and external terraces. This is a project that is very close to our hearts, having spent many a memorable night in the building – we believe that these special places are what make a good and joyful city.

The existing ex-factory building is located in an area of rapid change, and our proposal will more than double the floor area. Bistrotheque first opened with a small cabaret room – since absorbed into a dining space – and hosted alternative cabaret nights and the infamous Drag Balls. These events are part of Bistrotheque’s DNA and our project will reintroduce this important function to the site.

We began with a research stage where we studied dozens of venues around London and have designed the building to be surprising and spatially complex – back-of-house is front of house. This design reflects Bistrotheque’s ethos and retains some of the unique character of the existing building. The bold facade deliberately sets itself apart from the myriad of new residential blocks around it and creates intimate outdoor spaces.

Bistrotheque co-founder Pablo Flack said: “The thoughtfulness of Studioshaw is top-notch and they combine that with making the process fun. They really are one to watch”.

Project images

The main circulation spaces including the staircase are all external. Pavement lights filter light vertically through the building. Image by Forbes Massie.
1:100 foam and paper model. A view looking down Wadeson street - the Bestway cash and carry opposite.
The perforated concrete screen has openings cut into it. Here we were testing different window arrangements.
A view through the theatre, ground floor bar, first floor event spaces and double height restaurant. The external terraces are heavily planted and hidden behind a perforated concrete screen facing the street.
The private dining room on the first floor with confetti from the night before. Here the external terrace is double height, creating a visual link to the floor above. Image by Forbes Massie.
The double height restaurant on the second floor. The coffered ceiling and mezzanine are a key feature. This space can also be used for impromptu performances. Image by Forbes Massie.