FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

London’s Old War Office Grand Courtyard Revitalized with New Pavilion, Café La Perouse

by Ron Bernthal

Apr 11, 2024

© DaeWha Kang

Daily

DaeWha Kang Design Studio completed a beautiful new courtyard and Pavilion design for London’s former Old War Office. Built in 1906 in the city’s Whitehall historic district, the original courtyard at The OWO has recently been transformed into the Grand Courtyard, creating a welcoming and unforgettable presence for guests arriving at Raffles London at The OWO and for Londoners residing at OWO Residences by Raffles on the other side of the courtyard.

OWO

© DaeWha Kang

The Pavilion in the courtyard houses a bar and dining venue for Moma Group’s Parisien restaurant in London, Café Lapérouse, opened in late 2023. Given the important historical setting of William Young’s early 20th-century building, the Pavilion has been conceived with deep consideration for its surroundings, designed as a sculptural object as much as a building.

The mirror-polished metal shapes of the Pavilion’s roof have a mirage effect, somehow reducing its visual intrusiveness on the older and more famous OWO building surrounding it. DaeWha Kang Design created the Pavilion using stainless-steel roof panels and finely crafted glass facades. A sculptural skylight marks the center of the roof, allowing natural light to flood the interior and café within it.

Cafe La Perouse

© Celia Sesma

The concept was to imagine being inside a Georgia O’Keefe painting, with softly ribbed white columns developing into petals that radiate to form the entire ceiling, providing a beautiful setting for Café Lapérouse’s interior by Cordelia de Castellane, and complemented by landscaping that provides a backdrop for outdoor dining.

The courtyard redesign also created a stunning, 16-foot sculptural fountain, “providing the yin to the yang of the pavilion,” as the designers explained. They said the “interplay of real water and reflected metal waves creates a dramatic and dynamic experience for visitors to The OWO.” The metalwork was actually finished with Aston Martin paint, giving a nod to the James Bond link with the building, as Ian Fleming was inspired by the historic OWO building and it was featured in many Bond films.

daytime

© DaeWha Kang

Even the courtyard cobblestones have been carefully preserved for historical value. These were the same stones Winston Churchill and T.E Lawrence (aka Lawrence of Arabia) walked over on their way to work each day. Carefully documented and re-laid into a contemporary pattern, the cobblestones remain part of the courtyard’s interesting story.

“A sustainable future for our planet will depend on radical new approaches to architecture and construction,” said the DaeWha Kang, founder, DaeWha Kang. “Projects like the Grand Courtyard and Pavilion at The OWO show how quality, luxury, and inspiration can come from this meeting of old and new.”

 

 

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