The Wallace Collection: Cafe Bagatelle
Architect Rick Mather's signature style is to bring the outdoors inside, and considering this country's climate, it makes design sense. The new 110 seat restaurant/ cafÃ© is designed to complement the gallery's 18th century paintings, collected by five generations of the Wallace family.
Mather set about creating a Mediterranean-style sculpture garden, arranged around its piÃ¨ce de rÃ©sistance: a 19th century fountain unearthed from Chateau Bagatelle - the Parisienne country retreat of Sir Richard Wallace.
Restaurateur Stephen Bull was responsible for the cafÃ©'s creative direction. 'The classical ambience, menu and wine list reflect the art aspect and origins of the collection,' he says. Signs and graphics, created by Paris-based Nathalie George, also incorporate colours and motifs of the French 'Boulle' Wallace furniture pieces.
Once a dark, dank open space, the courtyard is now a sedate restaurant crowned with a dramatic glass roof. 'We wanted to create a temperate climate so people could enjoy the garden all year round,' says Rick Mather, who, along with structural engineer Ove Arup, designed a sophisticated underfloor heating system. During the summer the floor is cooling, but come winter time it heats up, so whatever the weather, Bagatelle is a safe option.
Bouche pink walls provide a sharp contrast to zinc counters. The effect is softened by beech tables and wicker chairs, produced by Spanish manufacturer Bonestil. Lighting is an essential element in creating the cafÃ©'s atmosphere and Lighting Design Partnership found that subtle floor lighting and spotlights hidden behind sculpture reinforced the classical style of the garden.
Architect: Rick Mather
Lighting: Lighting Design Partnership
Interiors: Stala Antoniades at Rick Mather
Graphics and signage: Nathalie George