CHANGING THE SCENE
London's venues are inevitably appropriated by different generations, transformed by contrasting tastes until perhaps their original perception comes back into fashion. The Grill Room in Regent Street's CafÚ Royal reopened in July after refurbishment by Zena Prawl.
In its heyday the Grill Room was described by Cecil Beaton as the most beautiful room in the capital; now - according to Prawl - it boasts Gwen Stefani's favourite toilets in London.
Alcantara-upholstered seating by Style and Comfort has been discreetly inserted; the lighting has been updated, with the addition of spotlighting to the statuettes' cleavage. Prawl also gave a facelift to the basement club Paper (formerly Elyseum), also within CafÚ Royal.
The two clubs attract very different crowds: the Grill Room is populated by 'modern dandies' whereas Paper draws a rich, celebrity-based clientele.
This distinction has informed the aesthetic and sequencing of spaces. Queues form on each side of the entrance. The shared lobby provides access to the Grill Room and to Paper's groundfloor bar, the walls of which are finished with Chesterfield-style upholstery (also by Style and Comfort) and spandel-glaze back-painted glass from K-Seal. A succession of spaces leads into the club, which has been subdivided on the simple principle that height connotes status: the dance oor is lowest, with the VIP, VVIP, and even VVVIP rooms ascending around the centre.
Pocket spaces for those in need of a rest are tucked away from this hierarchical route, furnished with beds and wallpaper from Laura Ashley and Peter Jones.
In 2005 the Cuckoo Club (formerly the Stork Rooms) underwent a ú1.5 million revamp by London-based design studio Blacksheep for Unicorn Enterprises. 'We wanted to create a venue where everyone could get dressed up, ' says Blacksheep director Tim Mutton, 'as if they were going to a stately home for a cocktail party but finding out on arrival that the Rolling Stones were there too.' The lighting strategy (designed with Into Lighting) was key - a diamond pattern of acrylic domes, set into Altro ceiling panels, is illuminated by colour-change LED lights.
Flooring is a palette of natural materials: in the reception, twisted velvet carpet (by THG International) mixes with grey slate (by Mandarin Stone); dark burn oak timber (by Victorian Woodworks) runs from the ground oor to the basement, where it meets Centiva vinyl ooring (also THG); back of house is Altro's Designer 25 vinyl ooring. Wall finishes include padding by John Hitch, who also supplied the fixed furniture (loose seating was by Bourne Furniture); wallpapers are by Cole & Son, Osborne & Little and Liberty; paint is Dulux; mirrors are by Nero Designs. Fabrics, from Osborne & Little, Pongees, Designers Guild, JD McDougall, Sekers and JAB, were - re-proofed by Essex Flame Proofing.