Quo Vadis – Stunning makeover for Soho’s ‘Great Dame’
Located within a historic Grade I listed building, Soho restaurant and members club Quo Vadis, known as ‘The Great Dame of Dean Street’, opened recently following a substantial and stunning refurbishment ahead of its 90th birthday.
The venue, which has been under the leadership of restaurateurs Sam and Eddie Hart (proprietors of Barrafina and formerly, Fino) since 2008 and with partner Jeremy Lee at the helm of the kitchen since 2012, closed briefly in August.
The reaction to the new interior has been very positive – members love the new look and the new members’ dining room is fully booked for lunch and evening.
Designers and Architects for the scheme were Now London, with Powells as main contractors.
Mark Brown, Creative Director of Now London said: “Our brief was to re-vitalise the existing architectural fabric of the building and create a series of destination spaces across the first and second floors.
“The re-furbishment marries vintage glamour, hand crafted finishes and the unique language and history of Quo Vadis and Soho.
“We have created a seamless transition from the first to second floors creating a vibrant space across the two floors and opening up the current suite of second floor rooms and lobby into one larger club space.”
Behind the leather clad club entrance doors, a dramatic staircase leads to the first floor. The staircase has been upgraded to dark chocolate oak with brass inlay strips.
The staircase is complimented by the surrounding space which features burnt orange lacquered walls and ceilings with John Broadley’s black line illustrations painted directly onto the walls to create an immersive and uniquely Quo Vadis experience.
On the first floor, the main bar has been re-imagined, with striking design features including a new bespoke white marble topped bar complimented by a back bar clad in vintage mirrors.
A series of barstools upholstered in dark navy premium leather and a bespoke bar top and wall lights have been created exclusively for Quo Vadis.
Low velvet banquettes, tweed and velvet upholstered drum stools and marble topped nesting tables add to the overall design impact.
In addition, the existing herringbone timber floor has been completely re-furbished and brought back to life through hand finishing, staining and oiling to highlight the wood grain and natural beauty.
Mark Brown said: “In the bar and clubrooms, the walls have been re-coloured and include the introduction of a pinstripe gold key line at dado level. Vintage mirrors on the walls reflect the light and open up the space.
“Bespoke velvet banquettes, new seats and sofas throughout are designed specifically for Quo Vadis and hand made by craftsmen in England. All are upholstered in a unique combination of textures and patterns.
“Wall lights and low lighting are all hand made in brass and commissioned exclusively for the venue.”
The area around the fireplace has been transformed into a central hub for the two rooms with the installation of a wood burning stove, a dramatically curved vintage sofa and a hand painted Campari mural. These are complimented by a set of love seats, vintage mirrors and luxurious marble topped tables.
A new members’ dining room created to the rear of the first floor sets a dramatic change of pace and features deep green-textured wallpaper throughout, again created exclusively for Quo Vadis.
The opulent green velvet fluted banquettes and a suite of orange and dark tan leather carver dining chairs are also all bespoke.
A small glamorous snug bar has been introduced within the corner with brass highlights, a green marble bar top and vintage green leather panelling on the front.
Mark Brown said: “The dining space acts as a dramatic backdrop to a stunning new ‘Soho Tapestry’ illustration by John Broadley. This is hung along the rear wall of the club and measures almost 5 metres wide.”
The second floor rooms have been opened up by removing adjacent walls creating one large seamless club space with a unique colour palette.
Fielded panelled walls and ceilings painted in a deep blue, together with bespoke blue carpeting throughout and upholstery in various shades of blue distinguish this space. The bespoke deep-buttoned banquette seating, wing back chairs and club chairs are complimented by bespoke marble table nests.
A new library bar has been installed within the space, combining marble and vintage mirrors.
A series of new glamorous bathrooms has also been created with green veined marble topped vanity units, vintage brass framed mirrors, handmade globe light fittings and brass fixtures.
Walls and floors are in a combination of creams and green herringbone tiles.
Challenges of the project included working within a Grade I listed building with the associated requirements of liaising with Historic England and the local planning department – as well as implementing special structural measures required to support the iconic building fabric.
“This is a very important project for NOW as we develop from being a retail-focused design agency. “With Quo Vadis and a series of new restaurant clients, we are building a formidable reputation within the food sector too,” concluded Mark Brown.