Text description provided by the architects. With an area of 5,700 sq.ft, seating 170 and housed on the ground floor of the Tea Building, on the corner of Shoreditch High Street and Bethnal Green Road in London, Soho House Group’s new Pizza East restaurant replaces the old Tea Bar.
Michaelis Boyd Associates’s interior architecture pays respect to the building’s industrial roots, with concrete walls and exposed beams, pipes and pillars. The main entrance is through the original Tea Building staircase lobby with all original tiles and concrete left exposed. A white tile reception desk greets guests as they enter the main space through the original warehouse doors.
The existing windows were opened up and replaced with large industrial metal crittal windows to allow more natural light to enter the space. A block wall to the internal communal lobby space was demolished and replaced by windows to allow for a visual connection between lobby and restaurant. The cloakroom is exposed, made of scaffolding poles, and sits to the side of the reception, between concrete columns and a newly exposed extract duct. Toilets are located in the basement, accessed by a new concrete staircase, with further prep kitchen and general back of house areas.
The restaurant is open plan and comprises various areas: a waiting high table with bar and retail deli area, a central seated bar with drinks, cheese and meat display, a private dining area and a pizza bar with view over the kitchen and pizza ovens. About a quarter of the ground floor plan is occupied by an open kitchen with pizza ovens. The mixed timber and zinc tables with old school chairs are loosely placed around the main feature central bar. Two long reclaimed factory tables with swivel stools sit between the main bar and pizza bar & private dining room.
Michaelis Boyd kept the palette of materials simple in order to compliment the existing structure. White crackled tiles with green line stripes for the bar and pyrolave stone above, echo the original green capping tile in the building entrance. New concrete plinths were cast on site, with chamfered edge detail, in keeping with the existing columns detail, to hold a large timber-top table. Leather quilted banquette seating was added to the perimeter to add comfort and soften the space. Old reclaimed antique lights are installed with all pipes, ducts and conduits left exposed in ceiling.