Café Royal

Soho, London W1
The Crown Estate
David Chipperfield
Quantity Surveyor
Arts and Leisure
Heritage and Refurbishment

Project Scope

  • Bronze retail glazing and shopfronts
  • Bronze canopies and architectural liners
  • Bronze revolving doors
  • Copperlight glazing
  • Atrium glazing
  • Structural steelwork
  • Rooflights
  • Architectural metalwork

Comprising of three historic, listed buildings in the southern quadrant of Regent Street and on Piccadilly Circus, the extensive refurbishment and re-modelling of the Café Royal has provided 160 guestrooms and suites in a grand restoration of one of London’s prime locations.

Key Challenges

  • Totally bespoke pure bronze door and window system including liners and cladding
  • Large 8m x 4m glazed units to shopfronts
  • Bespoke overclad fire-rated frame to light-well glazing
  • Unique copperlight glazing panels to all elements of glazing

The Brief

Working with an outline, Stage D design brief, Colorminium faced a number of very complex challenges to bring this scheme to fruition. Comprising three separate structures that met at a full building height lightwell was challenging for the design team as was the construction of a pure bronze façade and shopfront scheme that ran around the ground floor of the whole building. Employed directly by the client under a CM contract, Colorminium were requited to take the base design, develop it, engineer and produce a finished product to a quality that is synonymous with the rest of the building.

Our Approach

The central lightwell that was at the convergence of the three buildings was designed to spill natural light into the very heart of the building. This was achieved by capping off the top with a steel frame and conventional roof glazing system that allowed the light to transmit down. A totally bepoke steel frame was then engineered to run full height within the lightwell and around its triangular sides. The bespoke design was then fire-tested before being clad with pure bronze cappings from the internal side. Within the glazing apertures, a totally unique ‘copperlight’ glazing panel design was made up and tested before being installed with sand-blasted glass to diffuse the light into the corridors but mask the lightwell.

Another area of intricate design and complexity was the new entrance on Air Street. Five large existing stone arches were converted with the use of a totally bespoke, pure bronze design. Large curved reveal liners were designed and fabricated to run around the perimeter, with integral canopies also clad in pure bronze. Within the liners, a mixture of fixed glazing and doorsets were installed including a revolving doorset which also was clad in pure bronze.

A number of other complex areas made from bronze included louvres to the exhaust risers from the basement, retail shopfronts and windows, bronze overclad doorsets and inscribed bronze signage.

The Result

The finished building is a stunning result of precision engineering with everyday functionality whilst retaining the historic character. Fully integrated into this are the elements designed, supplied and installed by Colorminium which give the public the first impressions of this building.