Modern vibes in a historical city

Caitlin Hughes Caitlin Hughes
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There's nothing better after a busy day of sightseeing and shopping, than taking a seat at the window of a laid back café, sipping on a cappuccino and getting stuck in to a piece of home-made cake. The project we're going to look at today is the perfect answer to your culinary cravings as you wander round one of the UK's most visited cities: Bath. Famous for its Roman thermal springs and beautiful neoclassical architecture, Bath certainly has a lot to offer in the way of culture and history—but it now also boasts something else: a café that gives the others a run for their money, located at the heart of one of the city's oldest cinemas. Built in 1934, The Forum has been classified as a Grade II* listed building. So, without further ado, find out how Simple Simon Designs have incorporated this modern café into a listed Art Deco cinema…

1930s meets 21st century

Finding an equilibrium between old and new, the contemporary cafe design manages to look fresh and up to date, whilst complementing the look and feel of the existing Art Deco space. The scale effect across the front of counter mimics a typical Art Deco pattern seen on everything from flapper dressers to home furnishings during the 20s and 30s. The rich tones of brown give off a classical luxury feel, whereas the slimline, light grey furniture is distinctly modern.

A laid back atmosphere

From this angle, the café looks completely contemporary, with small wooden tables and long couches lining the stark white walls. The light colour scheme keeps the area looking fresh and invigorating, so once you've sat down for a coffee and a snack, you're feeling energised to continue your shopping spree or whirlwind city tour. The sepia prints on the wall appear to show The Forum back in it's early days: a nice touch that recognises and celebrates the history of the building. 

Modern lighting

The Scandinavian inspired lighting contributes to the contemporary feel of the café. The white light shades contrast with the bright red suspension cords, and the silver fixtures look both elegant and edgy. The space benefits not only from clever and diverse lighting options, including spot lights and back lights, but is also flooded with natural light during the day thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows that make up the front exterior walls. 

Reoccuring prints

Another twist on the typical Art Deco scalloped pattern is evident once again. A blend of textures in the raised wallpaper and smooth wooden slats across the lower half creates visual depth, despite a single colour dominating the interior. The emphatic use of white, chosen for every element of the design here, creates an almost futuristic impression.

Street view

Sit back and watch the world go by from one of the window seats pictured here. The mint green chairs are a perfect match to the stripped-back wooden bench tops, and again, a clean white colour scheme reigns supreme. With every base covered for a refreshing and relaxing experience, The Forum is the best place to take some time out in the city. 

If you want to discover some other interesting projects like this one, take a look at the following ideabook: Life on the water: Floating office in ex-WWII boat.

Does this project inspire you to pay a visit to The Forum? We look forward to receiving your comments!
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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