London & South East

The Vaults at Voltaire: an enlightened experience

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London Crowne Plaza Vault Jan 2013

So named after the French Enlightenment thinker Voltaire, this new London venue is one like no other.

Part of the Crowne Plaza Hotel, The Vaults at Voltaire in its previous incarnation had been the popular City bar Nineteen Below. Following on from a stylish refurbishment this new venue is sure to prove as big a hit when it launches in February.

When open the bar will boast the capital’s largest collection of Pommery champagne, an incredible al fresco cigar terrace and spearheading it all, a historic set of unique vault spaces available for hire.

Once housing the treasures of a former bank above, the old stone vaults now offer private but spacious alcoves, decorated in silks and animal prints, where guests can kick back and relax, attended to by their own private waiter. Unlike anywhere else in the capital, The Vaults at Voltaire are destined to become one of London’s hottest and most exclusive hangouts.

The vaults impressive architectural features have been brilliantly utilised by designer and architect, Sue Wheldon. As the founder of Brand Architects, Sue certainly knows a thing or two about luxury locations, having worked with the likes of Champneys and Kempinski.

Brand Architects specialise in the design and creation of effective and luxury commercial interiors for hotels and leisure facilities.

Speaking about The Vaults at Voltaire, Sue said:

“I worked on the Crowne Plaza Hotel a few years ago re-designing the bedrooms and corridors, I was recently kindly invited back by the new General Manager.

London Crowne Plaza  Vaults at Voltaire

“I was asked to convert the vaults, which were just lying derelict under the pavement, into a real destination for the City of London. The idea of the vaults was that they are not just a place to sit in and enjoy a drink, but it’s actually a place to meet and spend time in a world within a world!

“They’re very beautiful unique spaces, the whole mood and focus of The Vaults at Voltaire is on groups, individuals and couples meeting, relaxing and socialising. With the seating therefore there is a lot of booths, cushions and comfy seating; also each vault is individually heated, fitted with an iPod docking station and a door.

“It was already a big meeting place for people in the city, many lawyers, bankers and city trader went to Nineteen Below and this refurbishment just makes it a much more dynamic space for them.”

When asked about the concept behind the project, Sue added:

“There was a leap of faith in terms of the concept as until the builders started working we didn’t actually know what condition the vaults would be in as they have been boarded up for some time.

London Crowne Plaza  Vaults at Voltaire

“The vaults run next to the River Thames and when they were revealed we discovered there was indeed some water damage. Also we wanted to try and reduce the height of the floors as they were arched and quite high. When we attempted this however we discovered a stream running into the River Thames under the vaults, we had to therefore adapt the seating accordingly – making it quite Moroccan in style.

“We have now repaired the damage and completed rendering. We have also used a lovely metallic paint and on the end wall of each vault there is an image of a real Pommery champagne vault – so there is a real sense of perspective.”

Stroods Specialist Contractors were the main contractors on the project and speaking about the some of the structural issues when renovating the vaults, Managing Director, Lee Tyler said:

“It was a case of the vaults being under the road, no one knew their condition until we removed the boards and some of them were in a fairly poor condition. We have now conducted the necessary repairs and some of the vaults have been tanked making them waterproof.

“It was also a challenge when we tried to lower the floors. When we raised them we found that the River Fleet was flowing underneath – down from Fleet Street into the Thames. Nobody was aware of this as it wasn’t listed on any map, so we just had to carefully work around that constraint.”

Design aside, within The Vaults at Voltaire guests can expect to enjoy the capital’s most comprehensive selection of Pommery, the legendary champagne house which today produces what many wine writers regard as the world’s finest champagne.

The menu will comprise half bottles through to the nine litre Salmanazar and the classic Pommery Brut through to the vintage Cru – not forgetting the famous cuvée Louise’, named after Madame Pommery, founder of the domain and creator of the first brut champagne.

Also featured will be the brand’s celebrated POP range, including both the famous Union Jack and the bespoke limited edition Voltaire design. All these, together with the remainder of the collection, will be displayed in a magnificent ‘Pommery Library’ that will be focal part of the bar.

Voltaire will also offer an imaginative and extensive cocktail list, many of them Pommery based. Sure to be a very popular choice will be The Volt-X which is a sharing cocktail for ten!

For those who fancy some recharging and relaxing at the bar, Voltaire has partnered with Temple Spa, the award-winning luxury aromatherapy-infused skincare range favoured by many an A Lister.

R‘n’R at The Volts Spa will feature five unique creations- all made with herbs and fruits found in Temple Spa’s range, including the comforting Repose and the confidence-boosting All Talk. Anyone ordering one of these beguiling blends will each receive a complimentary Temple Spa product to take home with them.

London Crowne Plaza  Vaults at Voltaire

Stroods Specialist Contractors

Established in 1988, Stroods Specialist Contractors specialise in fast track refurbishment and work extensively across the leisure and commercial industry- refurbishing and renovating hotels, bars, pubs, and clubs, offices and shops.

Most recently the firm have been carrying out works on the new trendy Vaults at Voltaire bar/meeting space in central London.

Speaking about the project, Managing Director, Lee Tyler said: “It was a case of the vaults being under the road, so no one knew their condition until we removed the boards and some of them were in a fairly poor condition. We have now conducted the necessary repairs and some of the vaults have been tanked making them waterproof.

“It was also a challenge when we tried to lower the floors. When we raised them we found that the River Fleet was flowing underneath – down from Fleet Street into the Thames. Nobody was aware of this as it wasn’t listed on any map, so we just had to carefully work around that constraint.”

When asked what it is that Stroods take pride in, Lee added: “We pride ourselves on being able to conduct fast track projects like The Vaults at Voltaire to a very high standard.”

Nova Interiors

Established over 30 years ago, Nova Interiors design manufacture and source high quality furniture for the hospitality industry. Whilst delivering a product is at the core of Nova’s business, it is the service level which sets them apart from the competition.

Most recently Nova supplied the loose furniture including statement chairs, lounge chairs, bar stools and outdoor furniture for the trendy new Vaults at Voltaire bar/restaurant in central London.

Speaking about the work Nova Interiors do, Sales and Marketing Director, Jonathan Buchanan said:

“Our aim as a business is to provide our clients with excellent value. To achieve this we take great care to discuss with clients their requirements for specific projects and tailor our product and service to suit their needs. Each project and each client is different so understanding their expectations is vitally important.”

When asked about the work carried out on Vaults at Voltaire, Jonathan added:

”We provided product design input, manufactured the upholstery here in Chesterfield and used our sourcing network to provide the exquisite outdoor stools. We worked closely with Brand Architects to deliver their design concept on time and to the quality standards this discerning client expects.”

Universal Fibre Optics

In business for over 20 years, Universal Fibre Optics (UFO) is the UK’s only complete fibre optic lighting systems manufacturer.

The company specialises in manufacturing, supplying and installing complete fibre optic lighting systems of all sizes and specifications to a wide range of sectors. With a team of fully trained sales engineers, UFO can visit your project site and demonstrate fibre optic lighting firsthand.

Most recently UFO manufactured and supplied the fibre optic feature in the soon to open Vaults at Voltaire bar/restaurant in central London.

Speaking about the works carried out on the exclusive venue, Sales Engineer, Fergus Rae said: “We worked very closely with architects on the Vaults at Voltaire project.

“The bar area has been given that extra ‘wow factor’, as behind the seating bunker we have fitted a curtain of fibre optics which follows the contours of the seating and sweeps along the wall- it will give a lovely glowing effect.

“There really is so much that can be done with fibre optics- you just need the imagination to envisage what you want. Once it’s in place, there are no maintenance issues other than changing a single bulb.”

When asked what it is that UFO prides itself on, Fergus added:

“We are proud of the service we offer to our clients and the quality of our products.”

H S Beard & Son

Established in 1905 H S Beard & Son have specialised in the installation of outdoor coverings for both commercial and domestic applications. They still manufacture traditional products with the Victorian pull out Box Blinds, alongside their long term supply of Weinor alfresco products such as fully automated Awnings and Retractable roof systems, Terrazza’s and Glasshouses.

Over the past 108 years the company have worked on many high end projects, the most recent including Brasserie Blanc at Covent Garden Oprah Terrace, the prestigious St Andrews University and the Thai Square chain of restaurants. The latest project was The Vaults at Voltaire, where eight Weinor designer awnings and a custom made entrance walkway canopy were required to meet the requirements of the architect and the client.

Commenting on the project, H S Beard & Son Company Owner Alan Beard said:

“For the Vaults of Voltaire we had to supply two products that would both suit the building and the client’s needs. We are always pleased to offer our experience and advice with high end projects such as this.”

Alan added:

“Although we are a small traditionally run family business, we always offer each client the best products available for each application, which can sometimes mean drawing on wider knowledge within the blind industry. Using companies like Weinor this ensures we are able to meet all the needs of the modern architect.”

Concept Textiles

Specialising in high end interior design, Concept Textiles manufacture and install soft furnishings such as curtains, tracks, bed throws and cushions through to bespoke wallpaper.

The company mainly works in the hospitality sector, creating vibrant interiors for hotels but Concept Textiles also supply for care homes and the high end domestic market.

Previous projects include K West London, Mercure Kensington, Park Plaza County Hall, The Westbridge Hotel in Stratford, which is opposite the Olympic Park and also a large variety of boutique and branded hotels across the UK and Europe.

Most recently the company have worked on the trendy new London bar, The Vaults at Voltaire.

Speaking about the works carried out, Co-Founder Warren Stimson said: “The Vaults at Voltaire is a unique opportunity to show our quality and workmanship and is an exciting project to be involved with.

“The venue has an exclusive, luxury feel and we’re reflecting this in the bespoke faux leather bench cushioning and soft furnishings”

When asked what Concept Textiles prides itself on, Warren added:

“Our quality of work, competitive pricing, flexibility and a can do attitude.”

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