SHH answered a brief from the Barbican to make the most of the location within this iconic building envelope, in order to create the new environments, which encompassed both the former 450sq m ground floor café, now a restaurant and shop, re‐branded as ‘Barbican Foodhall’, and the first floor bar and restaurant ‐ now ‘Barbican Lounge’, as well as the outdoor terrace spaces for both venues.
“Our overall approach’, explained Helen Hughes, ‘was to link the spaces back to the wonderful architecture of the Barbican itself and to celebrate the building’s materiality by exposing the original concrete ceilings, de‐cladding the hammered aggregrate walls in the Barbican Lounge space and using Cradley brick pavers for the Foodhall flooring, which not only brought the flooring back in line with the original treatment, but linked it to all the existing external Barbican walkways. Our second major direction was to create visual connections between the two offers, particularly via the outdoor terraces, which extend from each space. This was achieved partly through planting, but mostly by the design of huge, eye‐catching and bespoke‐designed umbrellas or ‘urban trees’, made of two off‐centre perforated aluminium disks.
Here .PSLAB developed black steel tubes fixed on the coffer edges, extending downwards to shed light over the tables using low‐energy bulbs at the end of each tube. As the electrical points are situated inside the coffers, the tubes had to be connected with visible black cables. “The overall effect is quite magical”, commented Helen Hughes, “and also highly visible as you approach the Foodhall.”