Bloomsbury Theatre Foyer and Bloomsbury Café

University College London

Following our successful refurbishment of the Bloomsbury Theatre, which reopened in February 2019, NHA were appointed by UCL to bring a similar level of quality to the theatre foyer and café spaces at the front of the building.

Our design sought to add warmth and character to previously bland and cluttered spaces, with a palette of rich and tactile materials including cherry and walnut paneling, deep red upholstery and carefully integrated feature lighting.

Inside the main entrance, a new timber-lined volume forms a threshold to the theatre, incorporating the redesigned box office and rationalizing signage to the other parts of the building. In the café, the lowered window sill and a series of timber-lined seating booths bring a more intimate scale to this long, lofty space. Surface-mounted services in the area were also rerouted or removed where possible to provide a cleaner backdrop to the new interventions, which provide a smooth counterpoint to the existing exposed brickwork.

The result is a setting robust enough to withstand heavy student usage but which also forms an appropriately lavish transition into the performance space beyond.

As the theatre has a busy schedule of performances and the café provides a valuable source of revenue to the Students’ Union, the works had to be carried out over a limited period of six weeks during Summer 2019. This called for much of the joinery to be made off site to speed up installation.

Project Team

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