Abandoned toilet turned coffee shop

Quirky adaptive reuse scheme Attendant welcomes Londoners for coffee and cakes

by Sian 20 November 2014
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    As the countdown begins to the results of our popular Adaptive Reuse awards category (longlist coming on 23 December!) we are dipping into the archive to celebrate some quirky, off-the-wall alterations to whet your appetite.

    Attendant is a fantastic example of a successful adaptive reuse scheme. Designed by London designers Pete Tomlinson and Ben Russel, the project saw an aged public toilet - or Gentleman’s Convenience as it is referred to by the owners - in Fitzrovia transformed into a buzzing coffee shop.

    Packed full of unusual features Attendant serves coffee, cakes, breakfast and lunch seven days a week to a variety of city customers. The original Doulton & Co porcelain urinals date back to 1890 and have been carefully cleaned and converted into a seating bar.

    The attendant’s office is still intact and now offers seating for customers, complete with payment window. Even an original hand dryer can be found in the seating area as a quiet nod to the outlet’s former use.

    Customers are able to shelter from the London weather inside or they can take a seat in the outside area next to the intricate ironwork cage that defines the exterior of Attendant. The paintwork on this ironwork was 18 layers thick when the team first began work on the property and it took nearly 10 months to restore this stunning original feature.  

    “The inside was part converted by the landlord into a design studio,” explains Ryan De Oliveira, Owner of Attendant. “But after just 6 months in the 80s they boarded it back up. The inside needed a lot of TLC and of course some inspired design elements. We collected vintage lamps from Los Angeles, Mason Jar Lighting from New York and work hard with the carpenter to release our concepts and design ideas.”

    Keep an eye on the WAN Adaptive Reuse Award results here.

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