Replacing the existing café, the new Duke of York Restaurant builds on the success of the previous structure located in Chelsea's Duke of York Square. Designed by NEX Architecture for our client Cadogan Estates, the unique curved structure has a distinctive story behind its design. Chris Blust, AKT II lead on the project, details the history of the site and the challenges behind the design of the new restaurant.
In 1999 Adams Kara Taylor, now AKT II, worked on the creation of the new public square which was the first to be constructed in London's West End in over a century. The square, being at the side of the Phase 1 development, was considered unusual in its setting to the buildings being developed at that time. As such, the major objective for Cadogan Estates included the aim and ability to capture people and bring them to the new open space – this objective was intrinsic to the landscaping strategy. The water features included in the original design, partnered with the original café building, played an enormous role in achieving this.
After being invited by NEX to collaborate on their competition entry to redesign the café in 2012, the team worked on a design that would honour the original success of the café whilst modernising the form. The original design and subsequent success of the Duke of York Square, along with this second iteration is a testament to the vision and commitment of Cadogan Estates. The new Duke of York Restaurant builds on this first phase of success, going further to create a place of meeting, with a pedestrianised public roof terrace, and a building of exceptional quality.