Conran turns Britain’s oldest gym into restaurant

The consultancy has redesigned the space so that it balances 19th-century features with its new Central European brasserie look.

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Conran and Partners has redesigned Britain’s first purpose-built gym as a restaurant.

The Grade II-listed German Gymnasium in London’s King’s Cross was designed in 1865 by architect Edward Gruning for the German Gymnastics Society.

Now it is being turned into a 447-cover restaurant by restaurant group D&D, which has looked to Conran and Partners to design the space in a way which reconciles the original features of the building and its former purpose as a gym with a new look that evokes the grand cafes and brasseries of Central Europe.

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When it opens in November the space will comprise a ground-floor grand café, an outdoor terrace, restaurant, bars and private dining spaces.

Inside the triple-height space gold mesh screens inspired by Victorian metal work and fencing masks will be integrated, while original features such as climbing hooks are being retained.

Through the windows overlooking the street passers by will be able to see into the main kitchen, which will have a black palette and will sit under a separate kitchen featuring a double-height mirrored glass façade.

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The overall look is one of “refined industrial glamour” according to Conran and Partners project director Tina Norden.

“It’s such a focal point of the overall development of King’s Cross. The fact that it is a free standing building and one of the only listed buildings on the site makes it really special,” she says.

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