Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts

For the design of the Cafe/Bar at ACCA we took our inspiration from Basil Spences's original vision for the campus*, providing a versatile, welcoming space for student, faculty and audience to meet and interact with each other. Responding the architectural features and raw materials within the built environment we selected a palette of materials, textures and planting to compliment and contrast them in playful dialogue.

We partnered with Inglis Hall to create bespoke modular tables, taking the subtle curved line from the radiating tiles on the floor of the cafe. The red of terracotta tiles and brick work in the building clashed with the yellow of the oak, so to knock this back a little we fumed the oak to give the table tops a dusky grey finish. 

The Tables can be configured in numerous ways to allow for a board meeting, a feast and of course the cafe set up which offers seating for small and larger groups.  We furnished the rest of the space with a mix of locally made furniture, auction finds and modernist design classics.  The coffee table handmade in Sussex by Will James of Perrymans is a favourite and we love the story of post war ingenuity and innovation behind James Leonard aluminium chairs. Restoring the original Basil Spence furniture salvaged from the university Library was important. It was a lot of work but worth it in the end.

The Lab Benches and stools make use of the height in the atrium like corridor and the selection of sofas and armchairs in the nook by the fish pond are a great place to relax. We particularly like the 1930's Banana sofa. 

Photos by Briony Campbell

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