The Royal Court Theatre - the much loved Undercroft Bar

  • Undercroft Bar 1
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The Royal Court Theatre is Britain’s leading national company dedicated to new work by innovative writers and has been described by The New York Times as ‘the most important theatre in Europe’. The much-loved Undercroft Bar has undergone a refurbishment, led by Lyndon Goode Architects with Citizens Design Bureau and with joinery, upholstery, and specialist metalwork carried out by Benchmark.
A Grade-II listed building, the Undercroft Bar is a generous height space at basement level, cast in concrete, created as part of the Haworth Tompkins scheme of the theatre in 2000. Through radical re-planning of the space, this area will attract guests in the daytime as well as around busy evening performances.  It’s a place to get away from it all, meet friends, socialize and even work.
Benchmark worked closely with the design team to fulfill the integrity of their concept. For materials, care was taken to work with existing elements as well as provide contrast to the concrete architecture. Timber and distressed leather for seating provided a natural texture and warmth.
The new horseshoe bar is located in a central position drawing focus to the space. Timber panel fronted, the back bar is black patinated steel, a specialist finish carried out in our in-house metalwork workshop. The space allows break-off areas, and a series of nooks with a library of shelving in black patinated steel. Here on the banquette seating, side tables in the same finish cleverly provide a break between guests as well as a table top.
Benchmark is a one-stop shop and a powerful combination of over 50 knowledgeable craftsmen in over 40,000 sq ft of workshops for timber milling, carpentry, veneering, spray shops, metalworking, and in-house upholstery, as well as design studio and showroom. Benchmark has the capability and experience to take a sketch drawing, and translate this into a deliverable product. This combines in-depth understanding of engineering, design resolution and detailed knowledge of timber and process.

The Undercroft Bar and Restaurant reopen this week, providing a democratic space that encourages interaction between their diverse audience, actors, and playwrights.

Notes for editors:

Benchmark is a leading company of craftspeople and designers, founded 30 years ago by Terence Conran and Sean Sutcliffe. Benchmark work extensively with hotels, restaurants, public buildings, offices and private residences.

Lyndon Goode Architects has significant experience designing arts and cultural projects, with work including the first custom-built comedy venue to open in London for 20 years. With a portfolio spanning various sectors, the practice was recently selected to work with Peabody, and by YMCA, for an extensive redevelopment of their North London home.

Citizens Design Bureau is an emerging architecture practice based in Hackney. Recent work includes interior finishes, furniture and signage for the Stirling prize nominated Everyman theatre with Haworth Tompkins. The practice is currently working on creative workspace projects and the Ambassador's theatre for Sir Cameron Mackintosh.

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Image Credits: Hufton + Crow

For further information: Jess Tully  07973 630 421

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