London & South East

Up on the roof

The Rooftop Cafe - The Exchange- London

Perched at the top of The Exchange, London, The Rooftop Café at The Exchange is a fantastic new concept in dining which promises to shake up the way in which professionals go about their working day.

Part work space, part recreational area, The Rooftop Café has addressed the need for informal break-out spaces, by creating an eatery designed to cater for workers on the go.

The site has been expertly designed, carefully constructed and is the perfect destination for those in need of a bite to eat whilst they are busy inputting company data. Premier Hospitality caught up with two of the men behind the project, Sam Aldenton and Lee Gigney, to find out exactly what The Rooftop Café is all about.

Discussing The Rooftop Café, Sam Aldenton, one of the partners behind this bold new venture, said:

“The Rooftop Café was initially conceived as a break-out space for The Exchange; a co-working and events space situated at London Bridge.

“With the continued growth of coffee shops in the UK, we became aware that people are increasingly working within informal spaces, so we wanted to create a work space which could combine a café with a workable environment.

The Rooftop Cafe - The Exchange- London

“The Rooftop Café is open in the morning through to the afternoon, offers good seasonal food and is part of the Sustainable Restaurants Association.

“For us, what we were really interested in was looking at the way in which people consume food during the working day, or more specifically their relationship with food. Some people grab sandwiches and eat them in front of their computer, but as we recognised the importance of taking a proper lunch time during the day we wanted to cater for this type of person.

“We have essentially created a managed workspace/business that provides hospitality as part of the service.”

Sam added:

“Since opening The Rooftop Café we have received some fantastic reviews, with many people commenting on our food. People have really embraced the idea of a café on a roof, and although this is our first site, we do have an additional facility in the pipeline.”

The Rooftop Cafe - The Exchange- London

Work began on creating The Rooftop Café in September 2012 and reached completion in January 2013. During the refurbishment of the site, construction teams cleared as much of the area as possible without making any alterations to the fabric of the building.

An open kitchen was then installed, allowing diners to see into the very heart of the café and all of the interior design work was carefully considered in order to create the perfect mix of working and relaxation space. The fit-out was very much a design led scheme and focused on creating the correct lighting and balance of furniture.

Whilst work was being conducted on the project a staircase was erected at the rear of the site in order to transport materials into the building. A crane was also employed to facilitate some of the work.

Gigney Property Services was the main contractor on The Rooftop Café at The Exchange, whilst Alejandro Can-Lasso was the interior designer on the project.

Discussing the project, Lee Gigney of Gigney Property Services, said:

“When we first started working on the café the site was effectively a shell that was formerly the caretakers’ offices. There was a lot of exposed brickwork which needed plastering and then we had to fit in a kitchen.

The Rooftop Cafe - The Exchange- London

“The bar was formed on site, pine flooring was installed and then the seat design was constructed and fitted. The tables and chairs are all bespoke on this site and have been carefully placed to make the best use of space, so not to overcrowd the café.

“We then had to complete the decoration works, which were specifically chosen by the interior designer.

“This project used a certain degree of trial and error on site, and we all worked closely together to uncover the correct solution for this project.”

The Rooftop Cafe - The Exchange- London

Lee added:

“The end result is fantastic and everything ran smoothly throughout the 16-week build. As with any job The Rooftop Café at The Exchange had its own unique challenges, however we tackled them to complete this brilliant new venture.

“This was a good project for us and a very enjoyable challenge. I have worked with Sam on previous projects and I look forward to working with him on yet more schemes moving forward.”

Gigney Property Services

Working across a range of sectors, Gigney Property Services provide expert services for the construction industry, from flooring and roofing, through to tiling and decoration. Gigney Property Services work on many high-end projects and provide specialist services for property management companies and estate agents, in addition to a number of private clients.

Gigney Property Services has been in operation for more than ten years and in this time has completed many high profile schemes, including some roofing and brickworks in Wapping, refurbishment works in Chelsea and some large external decorating works at Warwick Square. Most recently Gigney Property Services was the main contractor on The Rooftop Café at The Exchange.

The Rooftop Cafe - The Exchange- London

Gigney Property Services Company Owner, Lee Gigney, said:

“We work closely with architects and interior designers on each project and we value all of the projects that we are involved with.

“We pride ourselves in the level of service we provide to customers. We always ask our clients for feedback and when we receive great feedback it is always very rewarding.”

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Roma Publications

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