Located on Regent’s Canal, The Proud Archivist is a combined gallery, bar, restaurant, cafe and events space, which was unveiled in November of last year.
Owner, Hector Proud, also the Managing Director of Idea Generation, wanted to revive the experience of the traditional coffee houses which were widespread in London around the 17th and 18th century.
We caught up with Oliver Marlow, Creative Director of Studio TILT, the lead architects on the project. They have gained an international reputation for their unique codesign methodology; engaging users in the design and making of their spaces, transforming the way people interact with each other and their environments. Oliver explained that spaces should never be fixed as they are constantly changing and need to be flexible for different uses.
Oliver explained, “The feedback has been fantastic since the venue opened. As a result of the workshops involving the community who use the space, the design was multifunctional, adaptable and those involved had a sense of ownership. At the heart of Studio TILT’s codesign approach is the fundamental logic that developing the design of a space through participation with those who will ultimately use it makes practical sense.”
“One of the most important things for us is to create a premise for people that meet their requirements. This was a complex space which needed to be efficient, as well as feeling interactive but not confusing. In order to achieve this we concentrated on the service design elements to make sure that everything worked.”
The Proud Archivist is located on the ground floor of a new housing association located directly on the Haggerston Canal. Upon entering the venue guests, are greeted by a blank wall where the current events are listed within a host space where someone is on hand to offer advice and directions.
Those visiting can take a left turn into the buildings gallery which you access through a large steel lever door. The door’s installation enables the space to be flexible and multifunctional and can be closed to use the space for private events.
There is also the option at the venue’s entrance to take a right past the host station and turn into the bar and restaurant space. At the end of the long thin bar diners will find a double height room which holds the restaurant and cafe space. A steel mezzanine can be accessed via a set of steps and is a very popular space for private dining, as well as being an extension of the cafe and restaurant.
One of the walls in the restaurant space is covered in an array of books, leaflets and pamphlets and so creates the feeling of being in a mini library. The tables are spread throughout the space and lead to glazed doors which opens out onto the picturesque terrace.
The open kitchen is located on the ground floor, allowing guests to view what they are about to eat as it is being prepared. Adrian said the team have aimed to create a space that is big enough to house 300 people in the gallery, 100 covers in the restaurant, as well as 330 individual in the bar and terrace area. The venue opens all day, every day and hosts events from 8am until 10pm.
Barracuda Construction acted as the main contractor on the Proud Archivist project. Headed by Director Keith Tucker, the firm has extensive experience in commercial leisure fit outs. The company has specialised in these types of fit outs since its inception three years ago.
They are building contractors and, despite having their specialisms, do get involved in a plethora of projects from design and build on commercial and residential developments. The firm are a relatively small outfit but have managed to establish an impressive portfolio. They developed The Lucky Pig cocktail bar in Central London, redeveloped the Marquis of Westminster in Pimlico and worked on an array of residential projects in Richmond and Fulham.
Barracuda became involved in the Proud Archivist as Keith used to work for Hector Proud’s brother and therefore he was recommended to undertake the project. Keith added:
“I was the main contractor and made sure that all the subcontractors provided all the works for the build. I also worked closely with Tilt to develop the design and work through the practicalities of the design.
“As a company Barracuda has established a name for ourselves with the ability to complete projects in a very timely fashion. We completed Proud Archivist in three months which is pretty spectacular for any construction outfit. Therefore we specialise and pride ourselves in quick turnaround times and high quality developments.”