Softroom were appointed by the British Museum to renovate and redesign the Great Court Restaurant. We responded with a refined dining experience with a more relaxed environment, one that provides a variety of distinct experiences and atmospheres.
From the start it was clear that the restaurant could make more of its fantastic location and feel more accessible and inviting. The first move was to reveal and expand the kitchen into the dining area, placing tall communal tables perpendicular to the servery counter, encouraging diners to enjoy the activity and theatrical energy emanating from it.
The Great Court has a strong sense of symmetry and this was reinforced by creating a new central entrance. This both simplifies the circulation and enhances views through to the adjacent drum of the former British Library Reading Room. A new charcuterie counter on the central axis creates a focal point and brings food to the heart of the restaurant and large tables that can cater for private dining or large groups are located in two side wings.
The materials used on the project respect the reduced palette of the Great Court but add interest and richness through the introduction of Salterworth limestone, silver glazed tiling and marble mosaic flooring radiating out from the Reading Room drum. And custom back to back seating, made to our design, looks down through the Reading Room windows to maximise the connecting views.