The firm’s initial brief was to integrate a lift into the centre of the building, but the project soon grew to incorporate a cohesive and broad reworking of the club’s entire layout, which had grown organically over the years.
Michaelis Boyd’s far-reaching modifications to the building footprint have created a unified design concept across all floors. Over a span of 24 months, new openings and connections have been created between the club’s many rooms, creating an intuitive flow within the venue for club members.
The new architectural scheme acted as a catalyst to develop and refurbish the interiors of all the club’s main rooms, as well as to rejuvenate the underused spaces. However, the client was keen not to eclipse the aura of the club with a complete overhaul, preferring instead a sensitive approach that simply enhanced the unique atmosphere of the Groucho Club.
The May Lou room, situated on the first floor of the club, has been reworked to create a new bar and a new direct connection to the dining room. A reclaimed fireplace has been installed at the heart of the room, while a feature plaster ceiling and an antique oak herringbone floor have also been added.
In the adjoining dining room the plaster detailing has been brought back to life, and luxurious Brazilian marble tables and sprung, curved banquettes have been chosen to create a rich yet comfortable design scheme. The walls have been relined with linen to help the acoustics of the space, chosen in a light, neutral tone as a backdrop against the Salon-style art collection.
Michaelis Boyd collaborated with the Groucho creative team throughout the design process, liaising closely with Nicky Carter, the club’s director of art. It was important that The Groucho’s incredible ever-changing art collection was the highlight of every room.
In the Soho Bar Michaelis Boyd experimented with a range of paint colours to find a vibrant hue that would create a substantially different mood to the rest of the club, while still being a backdrop to showcase the art.
The Soho Bar, which includes an impressive T-shaped members’ bar on the first floor, has been given a more contemporary feel with dramatic lacquered walls and a reclaimed wooden floor from the BBC’s historic Bush House, creating a unique reuse of a fitting piece of media heritage.
New lights and a wide variety of furniture, including custom-designed pieces, reupholstered antiques, and pieces by Tom Dixon compliment the space and make it work equally well during the day and at night. Michaelis Boyd also sourced furniture, fabrics, and reclaimed items to create a diverse and eclectic look, as if the scheme has grown together over time.
A new bar has been completely reworked to provide a stylish modern design with a feature resin art bar top inset into copper detailing inspired by the blue of the oceans, provide a striking focus to the room.
Many of the building’s original features have been restored: the main staircase and the timber panelling on the walls have been stripped back to reveal their original beauty.
An antique oak floor has been added to give the room a real sense of timelessness. Michaelis Boyd have also restored an antique stained glass window that was part of the original building, and installed it into a former light well. On the second floor, Michaelis Boyd created a state of the art, opulent screening room with custom-made furniture and fabric-lined panelling and luxurious carpeting.
The Groucho’s former ground floor reception area has been redesigned to create an entirely new library room for members and new entrance lobby.