Urbis takes a moment to revisit one of the earlier entrants onto Britomart’s reinvigorated hospitality scene, the award-winning 1885 bar, designed by Cheshire Architects.
“1885 is a collaboration proper. We worked with an incredibly energetic client-operator to shape this place. Our shared enthusiasms — for the working history of the building, the potential of roughness, the exhilaration of luxury amidst decay — meant a near total interchangeability of roles. This liberated us to infiltrate all levels of the project — a necessity when trying to insert high-capacity, highly serviced hospitality environments into an immutable old building, whose designers anticipated only grain storage and clerks’ offices. It allowed us to develop organically the nature of each bar’s experience, continually refining it during its execution.
Together, we closely shaped those experiences in their entirety, choreographing textures, furniture details, lighting, silverware and service. 1885 delivers the city a variety of environments — from improvised and intimate den, through to big nightclub and dimly-lit jazz bar, to luxury subterranean retreat — in a form that thrives off age, patina, and the tension between robustness and finesse. What was most exciting here was that we were able to step into the long trajectory of an incredibly derelict building and redefined its role in the city. The basement here was essentially an underground rubbish dump, now it is the jewel of the precinct, delivering the most refined of experiences.” Nat Cheshire