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vPPR completes café inside countryside department store

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vPPR has taken the wraps off this café inside the 130-year-old Manns department store in Cranleigh 


The 125m2 project is the first café the practice – which is better known for its infill housing – has completed.

The fit-out has revealed the building’s historic timber structure and a one metre high timber panelled wall runs around the inside of the cafe uniting what had previously been a series of ad-hoc spaces.

The panelling’s ribbed profile has been inspired by the department store’s original tiled cladding. 

A new bar made from Corian displays the food while repeating the ribbed designs of the wall panelling at a different scale. 

Jessica Reynolds, vPPR Architects, said: ‘The challenge was to bring a sense of order and calmness to the front of the store, whilst retaining the character and charm of the existing medieval architecture. 

‘We achieved this careful balance by reinterpreting a historic element, a tile, and transforming it into a contemporary architecture language which complements rather than competes with the existing space, also reinforced by atmospheric lighting.’ 

Client Richard Womack of Manns of Cranleigh, added: ‘vPPR Architects are great at maximising space and making both natural and artificial light work well. This is true of the café as daylight gives it a warm sunny feeling and the internal lighting has a similar positive effect at night.’ 

Concept drawing

Manns of Cranleigh by vPPR

Manns of Cranleigh by vPPR

Ground floor plan

Manns of Cranleigh by vPPR

Manns of Cranleigh by vPPR


Manns of Cranleigh by vPPR

Manns of Cranleigh by vPPR

Project data

Location Cranleigh
Type of project Café
Client Manns of Cranleigh
Architect vPPR Architects
Project manager Founded
Main contractor Mountfield Building Group
Funding Private
Appointment direct commission
Tender date March 2015
Start on site date August 2015
Completion date November 2015
Contract duration 3 months
Gross internal floor area 125m2
Form of contract JCT Construction Management Contract 2011 and Construction Management (CM/TC) Trade Contract 2011
Total cost confidential

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