German Gymnasium

The German Gym was built in 1861 and was London’s first purpose-built gym. It features a wonderful wooden truss and beam ceiling, some 57ft high, a feature Conran & Partners made much of when they refurbished the restaurant for D&D London. Lead designer Tina Norden drew on her German ancestry to create a ‘Mittel-European’ grand café while retaining the building’s unique historic details, such as climbing hooks and Victorian steel columns. Downstairs the brasserie features a fabulous striped and hooped grey marble floor, with the central banquette also featuring striping. A huge Smith of Darby clock references the one in nearby Kings Cross station. Upstairs on the mezzanine level grey leather banquettes pick up the marble of the floor below, and specially commissioned artwork by Mary Savva references the building’s historic background. A smart brass bar adds a touch of flair, and mesh screens separating off the private dining room echo the fencing masks worn by athletes competing in the gym.

Photography: Paul Winch-Furness


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