Covent Garden Flower Cellars
London Film MuseumLondon, UK Covent Garden London Culture + Entertainment, Heritage + Historic, Interiors, Repositioning + Transformation 35,000 ft2/ 3,500 m2
KPF’s refurbishment of Covent Garden Flower Cellars houses a new museum and an upmarket restaurant within a structure that once housed the flower market storage area. More recently, the space was briefly used as a theatre museum after which it remained unoccupied for some time. Covent Garden London wanted a design that would breathe new life into these vacant spaces and provide a real draw to the area.
The new restaurant will occupy a large part of the ground floor, which also features the entrance to new London Film Museum. The basement occupies the footprint of almost the entire city block and houses the main museum gallery, café and conference area as well as the kitchen and ancillary spaces for the restaurant above.
The London Film Museum has a strong presence at street level on Wellington Street despite its limited frontage. The existing door has been replaced with a fully-glazed screen. The new glazed door is designed to maximize views deep into the building from the street and the arches above the original canopy have been opened and replaced with clear glass windows, allowing more daylight to penetrate the space. Internally, the entrance space includes a new mezzanine and a large opening in the ground floor with a grand stair down to the main museum gallery. This triple volume also provides an access point for large exhibits, which are hoisted from a new structure at ceiling level.
The internal treatment of the gallery respects the character and features of the existing building. A simple material and color palette has been adopted; white walls and neutral floors at ground level give way to a black and white gallery scheme below. The existing historic vaults have been restored and lit to complement the natural brickwork. Only a few of the original basement vaults of the Flower Cellars still remain after a devastating fire some 50 years ago, so the remaining historic elements have been carefully restored and displayed.