School days at the Barbican Centre

Work on the overhaul of the Barbican Centre was completed nearly two years ago.  The changes to the building were significant – a new bridge was installed to connect Silk Street and Riverside entrances; bold graphics were used to sign each of the floors and main venues; and the pointillist walls and carpets were replaced with bold oranges and reds. The improvements were major and muscular, not only making it easier to move around the building but visually stunning.  So a great surprise to see the way in which the Riverside Cafe has recently been transformed into a 1950s style canteen cum classroom.  School chairs, a blackboard, American diner-style benches and these light fittings based on pickle jars, have created a retro atmosphere slightly out of style with the building. The cafe is now billed as a food hall.  Perhaps the design is intended as a refuge from the hammered concrete and wide open spaces of the foyers.


Published by Paul Lincoln

Printmaker, City of London Guide and commissioning editor Landscape, the journal of the Landscape Institute.


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