The most beautiful restaurant in all London is a German gymnasium… Well, the German Gymnasium, in fact. This stunning two-story restaurant served in a former life as England’s first purpose-built gym and helped to host London’s first National Olympic Games in 1866. In a twist that might be hard to understand, the German brasserie has been named the most beautiful eatery at the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards 2016.
The German Gymnasium, located in the heart of King’s Cross in London, was named the overall winner at the eighth annual event, which shines the spotlight on the most beautifully designed spaces around the world.
Lovers of good design will appreciate the German Gymnasium as it pays respectful homage to its heritage in preserving original details like the climbing hooks in the ceiling and cast steel columns.
The building was completed in 1865 and was funded from London’s Germany community for the German Gymnastics Society.
Designed by Conran & Partners, the restaurant is described as a modern interpretation of a classic brasserie with German overtones. Warm walnut timber paneling and black and grey distressed leather upholstery are set off against fresh, contemporary accents like an occasional pink and red tone. The space features two bars, first floor restaurant, Grand Cafe and outdoor terrace.
The menu is likewise a celebration of the landmark’s German roots under the culinary vision of chef Bjoern Wassmuth, who has created a menu featuring a few classic Mittel-European dishes like schnitzel, currywurst, sauerkraut and strudels.
The Black Forest menu features black forest ham, truffled potato soup, venison “Baden Baden” with Spatzle and lingonberries and a chocolate sponge cake with cherries and chantilly called the “Danube.”
In the category of best overall bar design, the Blue Wave bar in Barcelona was given the top honor. Designed by El Equipo Creativo, the interior is conceived to evoke a wave about to break.
Located on the water’s edge in the Barcelona Port, designers used reflective elements and ceramic tile in various shades of blue and white to harken sea foam, sea waves and light.
Here are the international winners of the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards 2016:
- Best Overall Restaurant: German Gymnasium, London, UK designed by Conran & Partners
- Best Overall Bar: Blue Wave, Barcelona, Spain, El Equipo Creativo
- Best Restaurant North America: Torafuku, Vancouver, Canada, by Scott & Scott Architects
- Best Bar North America: Kat & Theo, New York, USA by Aviva Collective
- Best Restaurant Europe: Les Bains, Paris, France, RDAI
- Best Bar Europe: Blue Wave, Barcelona, Spain, El Equipo Creativo
- Best Bar Asia: Foxglove, Hong Kong, NCDA
- Best Restaurant Asia: Shugaa, Bangkok, Thailand, Party Space Design
- Best Restaurant Australia & Pacific: So 9, Sydney, Australia, Brand Works
- Best Bar Australia & Pacific Bar: Pink Moon Saloon, Adelaide, Australia, Sans-Arc Studio
- Best Bar Middle East Africa: News Cafe, Johannesburg, South Africa, Studio A
- Best Restaurant Middle East & Africa Restaurant: Jo Grilled Food, Tehran, Iran, White Rhino Design Group