Nigel Coates Projects Portfolio

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Published by Nigel Coates Ltd. 25 Thurloe Street London SW7 2LQ Designed by Omar Ghazal Edited by Ace Morgan Photography: Nigel Coates Studio With thanks to: Maria Cicirello, Elizabeth Murphy, Andrea Mancuso, Francesca Terzi 2nd Edition 2014 Printed in Great Britain Š Nigel Coates Ltd.

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Intro 03

What We Do

Museums 06 Geffrye Museum 10 NCPM / the Hub 14 Powerhouse::uk 16 Body Zone Exhibition space 22 Roman Amphitheatre 24 Design shows 28 House to Home Clubs 32 Taxim 34 Bohemia Restaurants and Bars 40 Caffè Bongo 44 Bargo 46 Wallop Retail 50 Charles Fish 52 Jigsaw 56 Katharine Hamnett 60 Liberty Hotels 64 Otaru 68 Hoxton Residential 72 Boom, Oyster House 76 Clapham 78 Covent Garden Biography 81 Nigel Coates Biography



Nigel Coates Studio offers creative, artistically driven solutions in and around architecture and design. For those that are looking for more than a conventional outcome, we can provide a design service tailored to specific needs. Our award-winning abilities are especially suited to capturing the all important creative blueprint. Whether a building, a space, a product or a bespoke object, we hone in on the problem and work it into a framework for invention. Movement and meaning are key words for Nigel Coates. The studio has shaped projects of many kinds and in many contexts all around the world, specialising in leisure industry, hotels, retail, restaurants, bars, night clubs, residential developments and the creative re-use of existing buildings. Our design service can be customised to suit the circumstances and the location. Striving for the highest quality at the best value, we can work in collaboration with local architects and providers drawn from our global network. The studio maintains a strong and experienced team combining architectural and interiors skills, product design and brand strategy. We believe in the rapid output of ideas, and involving the client in a design process with real dialogue. Model-making and master sketching works hand in hand with expert 3-D development and visualisation. We would be happy to discuss your precise objectives and match them to relevant examples of our extensive portfolio.




National Centre for Popular Music / The Hub

MUSEUMS Whether considering the visitor or the curator, Nigel Coates Studio has an experience-based approach to museum design. All of our realised projects encourage the visitor to become an active participant, and be able to take in the exhibits to maximum effect. Tuning in to the narrative is the key to success. We are experts at generating the spatial conditions in which displays and their exhibits can be supported by the environment in every way possible. Projects shown here are all the result of competitive bids and careful consideration of the needs of the institution. The Geffrye Museum and National Centre for Popular Music both reinforce their permanence, while Powerhouse::uk and the Body Zone at the Millennium Dome celebrate their transience.


Geffrye Museum 20th Century Wing Exactly because the new wing extends the almshouses the museum has occupied for almost a century, we took many clues for this design from the existing buildings. The new structures are built from London brick and have a traditional timber pitch. We filled the space between the old and the new with a diagrid roof that swirls and hovers between the brick structures as if it were a cloud. Visitors emerge from the linear sequence of room sets in the almshouses to discover a curved trajectory applied to the 20th century settings.


The sweeping central staircase extends the visitors’ trajectory

The Geffrye’s new roof sweeps in and out from the original structure

National Centre for Popular Music / The Hub An icon for contemporary Sheffield, the four steel drums of the NCPM stand proudly on the city’s urban landscape. Originally designed as an attraction dedicated to pop music, the building was soon transformed into the Hub, the music venue for Sheffield Hallam University. Our idea for the building was simple; lift four circular galleries up to first floor level, and draw visitors up to their level by way of a wide central stair. People would choose which gallery to enter first, and effectively could write their own script.


The lobby on the first floor promotes choice

National Centre for Popular Music, Sheffield, 1999

The original bar at NCPM was based on a pinball machine

Powerhouse::uk Commissioned soon after Tony Blair came to power, this spirited temporary show was designed to show how Britain leads the world in terms of diversity, the individuality and the sheer energy that makes up its Creative Industries. Courageously sited on the central axis of Horse Guards Parade, the exhibit was housed in a cruciform arrangement of four inflatable domes that was only open for two weeks. Displays were divided into: Lifestyle, Communicating, Learning and Networking, and showed how designers work in a more interdisciplinary way than ever before.


Body Zone With blanket coverage throughout 2000, the giant body became the most tangible sign of success for the Millennium Dome. But for Nigel Coates is was the ultimate exercise in building a large organic structure. It was realised in a design process that crossed model-making with computer work. The first 3D model was made by slicing a prototype of Coates’ original experiment sculpted in clay. When the Dome opened, the Body Zone was clogged with queues within a matter of days, despite a capacity throughput of 5000 people per hour.


National Centre for Popular Music, Sheffield

Body Zone, Millennium Dome


EXHIBITION SPACES Temporary spaces for exhibitions create exciting opportunities to communicate a precise narrative. In controlled environments such as the gallery or the trade fair hall, our design concentrates on shaping the visitor experience and presenting artefacts as favourably as possible. Nigel Coates Studio strives for distinct identity while complementing the brand, or the subject under the spotlight. Our exhibits generate a spatial polemic by contrasting with their contexts. They use our trademark language plus slight aberrations of the given – a wall that tilts or a ceiling panel that dips. Minor interventions, the precarious, the repeated, the transparent or the layered work together to dynamic effect. Such are the shows of Coates’ own furniture and lighting, like Baroccabilly or Casa Reale.


Roman Amphitheatre Beneath the courtyard of the London Guildhall in the heart of the City, the long lost evidence of a Roman amphitheatre comes to life, thanks to a clever installation by Nigel Coates. Digital displays expand the definition of the original arena, despite the limited height of the remains. The archaeological material is treated with restraint and respect, but the visitor experience is accentuated with a life-sized digital backdrop that delineates the original ellipse. The occasional roar from an imaginary crowd affirms the idea of gladiatorial combat.


We filled in the imagination where the remains left off

Baroccabilly: home to an imaginary outsider

Design Shows Since the formation of Nigel Coates Studio in 2007, a series of shows has featured furniture designs of both production and limited edition. The first of these took place at the Venice Biennale in 2008 and focussed on a ‘landscape’ of innovative pieces in leather. This was followed in 2010 by Baroccabilly at the Fuorisalone in Milan and at the Cristina Grajales Gallery in New York. In 2012 Casa Reale occupied a derelict house, again in Milan; pitching the opulence of his work against the crumbling decay of the house, Coates was able apply his narrative atmosphere to great effect.


Casa Reale Show: The effect of our furniture was to upgrade a derelict house into a palace

Picaresque at the Triennale di Milano

House to Home, Houses of Parliament In the striking surroundings of Westminster Hall, House to Home was a multi-media exhibition designed to bring Parliament and people together. The exhibition mapped a journey from a life-sized version of the current House of Commons Chamber (the House) to a more inclusive participatory political environment (the Home). People could express their views on a range of questions, and were encouraged to vote on various models of democracy. With over 2,500 visitors in the first two days, the show was the largest exercise in public involvement in the parliamentary process ever to take place.


A direct line of contact to Downing Street

Bohemia Jazz Club

“COATES’ ability to build wild ‘narrative’ designs had seemed to belong on paper only”

CLUBS Some of the most exciting clubs in the world have been designed by Nigel Coates Studio. Working on the principle that club visitors want to enjoy the music and lift their experience beyond the everyday, we design venues that are upgrades on reality. Narratives range from familiar environments such as the city itself, to far away places that trigger exotic association. Taxim, one of the larger clubs, includes a restaurant, two bars, a huge dance floor and a private ‘divan’. Whereas the smaller Bohemia Jazz Club in Tokyo capitalises on its intimacy. Both accumulate practicality and artistry; Nigel Coates’ designs set out to orchestrate various scales into a unitary whole that includes furniture, artworks and commissioned pieces.


Taxim Club The decaying frame of a derelict textile factory was the unlikely location for what would be the largest nightclub in Istanbul. The design makes use of the building as an empty stage for a variety of narrative ‘scenes’ appropriate to each of the principle spaces making up the club. The main dance area engages the narrative of the airport; the floor is laced with runway markings while aircraft wings rotate slowly above the crowd. The adjacent bar and restaurant make a complimentary but distinct connection: to the city itself. A giant leather sofa undulates between the tables.


The restaurant at Taxim is based on the open air market in Istanbul

Bohemia Jazz Club Nigel Coates was asked to design three floors for the fashion designer Takeo Kikuchi in a new Tadeo Ando building in Tokyo. The first floor became a hairdresser, the ground a menswear store, and with our design, the basement fulfilled Takeo’s lifestyle dream of his own jazz venue. Despite its pocket size, two interconnecting floors give the project a laced sense of scale; people on both the upper and lower level can see the stage, which juts into the space. Everything is bespoke, including the seating and the lighting.


Bohemia was full of commissioned pieces of art and design

Complex views allow the audience to be part of the action

Caffè Bongo


RESTAURANTS Action in the kitchen may be the real secret of a successful restaurant, but the design of the dining room has to fully support the culinary experience. Large or small, Nigel Coates Studio seeks to create welcoming spaces that integrate well with the operations. Atmosphere and story combine with artistic excellence and luxury finishes. Our restaurants in Japan deliberately contrast the cuisine with the narrative vocabulary of the environment. At the Metropole, our first Japanese project, the environment was punk classic but the food was Chinese. But at Glyndebourne Opera, the opulence of the theatre experience needs to extend seamlessly into the restaurant.


Caffè Bongo Situated on Tokyo’s busiest pedestrian corner, Caffè Bongo defines a dramatic image, an arresting pop-classical collage. Bursting with a vocabulary drawn from the sub-cultures of music and fashion, the cafe’s aircraft-wingmeets-Piranesian-Rome aesthetic captures the fundamental design currents of the late twentieth century - and the desire amongst young Japanese to connect with the West. The irregular shell was remodelled into a dynamic sculpting of space that advances and retreats. The bar ‘buries’ itself within the wall, while the somewhat precarious curved balcony redoubles the height.


Caffè Bongo, Tokyo

To realise the interior all kinds of recycled artefacts were put to new use

Bargo Bargo opened in 1996 as a big and bustling bar in the Merchant City quarter of Glasgow. Inside, old aluminium portholes, overscaled timbers and crate-like banquettes reference the City’s industrial and mercantile past. In plan, the bar and restaurant spaces take the form of a new building slotted inside the stately shell of the former Cheese Market. This approach gives rise to complex, flexible spaces which ask to be explored, even puzzled over.


Wallop Restaurant, Glyndebourne To mark the 75th anniversary of the Glyndebourne Festival, the interior of the flagship Wallop restaurant was imaginatively re-designed by Nigel Coates and his team. Using serpentine banquettes, towering waiter stations and a series of interconnecting levels, their design defines many distinct areas that can accommodate more than 300 covers. The project is appropriately imbued with a sense of theatre. Patrons often recognise props sequestered from past Glyndebourne productions including a large-scale mural from La Traviata.


Middle and Over Wallop Restaurant, Glyndebourne 2009

Katharine Hamnett, Glasgow

RETAIL The world of fashion was the first to take up Nigel Coates’ design abilities and put them into commercial practice. In their respective ways, designers Jasper Conran and Katharine Hamnett understood that a narrative environment would relax the customer, and ease them into the shopping experience. It would also support the spirit of their brands, and expand them into a way of living. Whether a shop is based on a ‘house’, an exotic palace or an open landscape, the principle is the same - to introduce the customer to an ‘exploratorium’ in which the product is almost incidental but ultimately desirable. To purchase means to take part of the experience home.


Charles Fish Boutique Charles Fish has been selling fine jewellery in the East End of London for over 150 years. It follows that their new shop at Canary Wharf would mix history and modernity. This project makes a jewellery box out of the shop itself. Retrieved wardrobes and cupboards are half sunk into the walls. They have a deliberate distorting effect on the space, while a new chandelier design by Coates creates a focus over the central display cabinet.


Charles Fish Jewellery Boutique

Jigsaw When Coates began working with Jigsaw, the company was still testing the market with only a few stores in and around London. They wanted to develop their philosophy of fresh and natural fashion with stores that had a distinct identity on the High Street. The first shop in Kensington was soon followed by others in prestigious locations across London. At the Knightsbridge store, a huge central column addresses the street. Inside a spiralling terrazzo staircase erupts into the centre of the main upstairs selling floor, and frames the blue glass chandelier that hangs in the stairwell.


Jigsaw Shop, Knightsbridge

The facade cuts a slice through a palatial interior

Katharine Hamnett Nigel Coates shaped Katharine Hamnett’s main stores not only in the UK but also in Japan. Each of them celebrated a handmade feel, with specially produced tiles, fittings, lamps and mannequins. In Britain shops were realised in London’s Sloane Street, and Prince’s Centre in Glasgow. In Tokyo the main store was more restrained, but repeated the signature fish tanks in the window. The Hamnett Active store, also in Japan, featured a disarmingly simple cliff-like display and hanging system.


Restraint with a twist: Jigsaw Katharine Shop, Hamnett, Bond Street Tokyo

A pocket palace: Katharine Hamnett, Sloane Street

Liberty The half-timbered and much loved iconic store just off Regent Street needed new departments designed in sympathy with the old, but able to satisfy contemporary taste. Coates’ first project for Liberty was the Great Marlborough Street perfumery. In retail terms, the department took the radical step of overriding the identity of the beauty brands, and celebrating its own identity and opulent artisanship. Flocked walls and a silver-leafed ceiling compliment curvaceous counters that function as the base stations for each of the major brands.


Liberty JigsawPerfurmery, Shop, BondLondon Street

The Otaru Marittimo dining room

HOTELS The ideal for a guest is to step into a hotel and instantly feel at home. But the world of friendly domestic comfort should meet seamlessly with glamour and style. While a new building can tailor the design exactly to expectations, working in the frame of an existing building often helps stabilise a sense of continuity. Either way we are expert at injecting a sense of place into any project, and can add our experience to the mix. Our extensive range of furniture and ability to tailor designs means that we can offer our clients the complete design package.


Otaru Marittimo Hotel This boutique hotel is an adaptation of a once important bank on the main street of Otaru, once a major port. We used the narrative of a global shipping headquarters. On the theme of the open sea, the original banking hall became the hotel restaurant, with reception, bars and clubs occupying the executive offices adjacent to it. On the first floor, the Star Bar makes a dramatic re-interpretation of the original strong-room with an artificially lit starry sky at night. Every room in the hotel is different and is styled on the culture of port cities around the world.


The weather system defined the ambience atJigsaw the Otaru Shop, Marittimo Bond Street Hotel


The old banking hall had never looked so smart

Hoxton Hotel The Hoxton hotel set out to provide a unique combination of style and economy in one of the most fashionable parts of London. Although a new building, it achieves a rare combination of warmth and atmosphere within a remit of simplicity and straightforward operation. Coates’ masterplan addresses the needs of every visitor, whether drinking, dining or staying overnight. Like the best destination hotels, it attracts an evening clientele that add to its social attraction and cachÊ.


The Hoxton Hotel is a focus for fashionable Shoreditch JigsawOtaru Shop, Martimo Bond Street Hotel

RESIDENTIAL Whatever the scale of the home palace or modest apartment - you want to be at one with your surroundings. Nigel Coates Studio specialises in domestic environments that are laced with freedom, and bring pleasure into the everyday. Views and movement work hand in hand. Whatever the activity, the design needs to make you feel that it’s just right for you. Making a real home is the most difficult of tasks. The designer must make clever use of all the space available, and use it as a framework for an expansive way of living day to day. It needs to project in such a way that the client takes it over. It must touch you, stimulate and inspire you.


BOOM Project and the Oyster House As part of a proposed new development in Malaga designed exclusively for the Gay and Lesbian older generation, this new adaptation of Coates’ 1998 Oyster House has plenty of personality, but is easy to live in. On the upper floor, the bedrooms and study all interconnect. This level hovers above a fluid living floor that opens onto the landscape on all sides. At the risk of indulgence, two staircases cross at the centre of the building. These encourage occupants to find a balance between moving freely and maintaining privacy.


Boom breaks all conventions with its model Jigsaw homes Shop, by top Bond architects Street


The Boom house interacts freely with the Spanish landscape

Clapham Pool House In a prized location on the western border of Clapham Common, this fine residence has the added luxury of a pavilion that not only doubles, but trebles as a swimming pool and ballroom. Our contribution was to make a bespoke installation of Cloudeliers, the special light piece that we developed with Swarovski for Glyndebourne. Assembled on their own zig-zagging structure, and suspended above the centre of the room, these compacted sparkle machines add movement and glamour to whatever event is being staged.


Jigsaw Swarovski Shop, on Bond the Street water

Private Residence, Covent Garden Our clients acquired a large house in a converted warehouse that was once a setpainting workshop for Covent Garden Opera. While the front part of the building is relatively conventional, a cube of rooms juts into a three storey high space. Our extensive remodelling not only upgrades all the spaces, but makes the whole much more fluid. An organic new stair in wood sweeps through open space and offers an alternative to the tight staircase at the heart of the building.


Jigsawthrough Shop, Bond Street A completely new stair cuts a swathe open space


Born in 1949, and trained at the Architectural Association, Coates is one of Britain’s most celebrated practitioners of architecture, interior and product design. He has led a parallel career in academia and artistically driven, internationally recognised work. His subversive spirit first came to public attention in 1984 with the publication of NATO (Narrative Architecture Today) magazine. A manifesto for a socio-culturally engaged and popular, narrative architecture, it advised readers to be the architects of their own lives, and in doing so, to radically adapt the buildings around them. Certain themes, in particular that of narrative, have continued in Coates’ designs and research ever since. Beyond issues of function or style, narrative, he asserts, is a language of design that builds on people’s everyday experience. Form must follow fiction. He has continued to explore the communicative and experiential potential of architecture as a language drawn from the commonplace. He believes that the city is best understood if explored as a living organism, and that popular experience and culture are central to the experience of architecture. His work plays on psychogeographic association between the built environment and desire. Time and motion, he says, is the dynamic partner to the fixed, physical world. This approach is captured in depth in the Guide to Ecstacity which was published in 2003. Throughout his colourful career, he



has pursued experimental work that has been shown in an art and design context, including such exhibits as ArkAlbion shown at the Architectural Association in 1984, Ecstacity at the same venue, 1992, Mixtacity at Tate Modern in 2007, and Hypnerotosphere at the 11th Venice Architecture Biennale in 2008. He is also a prolific designer of lighting and furniture, with links to Alessi, AVMazzega, Ceramica Bardelli, Fornasetti, Frag, Fratelli Boffi, Hitch Mylius, Poltronova, Slamp, Terzani and Varaschin. For limited editions, he is represented by Priveekollektie Gallery, Holland. Examples of his work are held in collections around the world including the Victoria & Albert Museum and FRAC in Orleans, France. Having lead the Department of Architecture at the Royal College of Art from 1995-2011, he is now an RCA Professor Emeritus, and in 2012 received the Annie Spink Award for excellence in architectural education. His book Narrative Architecture (Wiley) was published in 2012. Recent shows have included Casa Reale at the Fuorisalone, Exploded at the London Design Festival and Picaresque at Kama: Sex and Design at the Triennale Design Museum in Milan.