The Art of Design Magazine – Gatti Theatre – April 2016
Theatrical Living by PEEK Architecture + Design Ltd
The property consists of nos. 409–410 The Strand. It occupies an enviable position next to the Adelphi Theatre, a stone’s throw away from The Savoy and the River Thames. It’s a site steeped in history, and the Architects, PEEK Architecture + Design, felt a duty to bring the property back to life while staying true to its architectural principles.
Georgina Turvey of PEEK Architecture says ‘’We wanted this building to have something of the eccentric about it. These rooms were the dining rooms above the theatre restaurant, so imagine the after parties that went on there, full of actors and London luvvies. We wanted to bring that fun back to life.’’
The History and Inspiration – The building was opened in 1885 by The Gatti Brothers, as The Adelphi Theatre Restaurant, and the upper floors housed the private dining rooms. The Strand had become a newly fashionable address, and was one of the most elegant streets in London. Many avant-garde writers and thinkers gathered here, among them Thomas Carlyle, Charles Dickens, John Stuart Mill and Herbert Spencer. ‘’But the past dies very hard in the Strand. It puts up a struggle. There still remain buildings which are as our grandfathers knew them..’’ (From ‘Ghosts and Greasepaint’ by W. Macqueen Pope 1951)
The Building –To this day, the ground floor retains the form of the old restaurant frontage, with polished granite pilasters. On the upper floors, the elaborate, decorative plasterwork and woodwork testify to the decadence of the private dining rooms, which inhabited these spaces. The first and second floors had existing elaborate hardwood doors, featuring carved architraves, some incorporating cats’ heads (as reference to the Gatti (cat) Brothers). Walls consist of panels above dado rails, which still integrate the large mirrors on the first floor.