Revisiting Café de Paris, London29.10.2018
Design Base were thrilled to be appointed to survey the historic Café de Paris in central London.
The Café de Paris first opened its doors in 1924 and quickly became a prominent scene for some of the world’s leading performers. The venue proved popular in high society, including the Prince of Wales, Edward III who was known to visit regularly.
During the second World War the Café kept its doors open to serve a young and defiant audience who were determined to party. Its enterprising manager promoted it as ‘the safest and gayest restaurant in town, being 20ft below ground’. It was a boast that went tragically awry on the night of 8 March 1941. Two bombs hit the building, hurtled down a ventilation shaft from the roof and exploded right in front of the band. 34 people lost their lives including the infamous Ken “Snakehips” Johnson. Determined not to be beaten, many bloodied survivors from the Café de Paris staggered off to other swish restaurants and clubs to complete their interrupted evening. As ever, the band played on.
Café De Paris reopened in 1948 and quickly re-established itself as a leading venue in London, playing host to Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra and Grace Kelly among others. The venue remains a thriving hub in London’s Night Life and is often used for film locations and TV shows.
Stepping back through history our comprehensive brief included a Topographical Survey of surrounding streets, Measured Building Survey of the Café complex and creation of 3D Revit BIM Model. Its important to note the determination of our surveyors who climbed neighbouring buildings to gain a high vantage point from where to Laser Scan the elevations and impressive domed Café roof. This was a fantastic experience for the Design Base team who worked with genuine care and respect for the building’s history and considerable Art Deco heritage. For many reasons the survey will last long in our memory.