The Royal Court Theatre is Britain's leading national company, dedicated to new work by innovative writers and described by The New York Times as ‘the most important theatre in Europe'. The much-loved Undercroft Bar has undergone a refurbishment, led by Lyndon Goode Architects with Citizens Design Bureau and with joinery, upholstery and specialist metalwork carried out by Benchmark.
A Grade-II listed building, the Undercroft Bar is a generous height space at basement level, cast in concrete, created as part of the Haworth Tompkins scheme of the theatre in 2000. Through radical re-planning of the space, this area will attract guests in the daytime as well as around busy evening performances. It's a place to get away from it all, meet friends, socialise and also great to work in.
Benchmark worked closely with the design tem to fulfil the integrity of their concept. For materials, care was taken to work with existing elements as well as provide contrast to the concrete architecture. Timber and distressed leather for seating provided a natural texture and warmth.
The new horseshoe bar is located in a central position, drawing focus to the space. Timber panel fronted, the back bar is black patinated steel, a specialist finish carried out in Benchmark's in-house metalwork workshop. The space allows break-off areas and a series of nooks with a library of shelving in black patinated steel. Here on the banquette seating, side tables in the same finish cleverly provide a break between guests, as well as a table top.
The Undercroft Bar and Restaurant has now reopened, providing a democratic space that encourages interaction between the theatre's diverse audience, actors and playwrights.
Design Team: Lyndon Goode Architects with Citizens Design Bureau