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 TaylorSnell.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.