Topolski – new cafe/bar opened in an art bunker

Award-winning interior designers B3 Designers have created the interiors of newly opened cafe/bar Topolski, located in the Hungerford arches next to the South Bank Centre.

The new venue replaces the former Topolski Century art bunker. With a self-supporting scaffolding structure within the arches to hold and display Topolski’s artwork, this new industrial, raw style-looking gallery truly celebrates Feliks Topolski’s work, a cultural DNA of London’s South Bank.

Feliks Topolski established his studio in 1953 in a nearby arch and in 1975 acquired the arches where the newly opened Topolski bar/restaurant is now located. B3 Designers’ brief was to turn this 370 square metre arch space into a venue that allowed visitors to enjoy Feliks Topolski’s artworks. This was to incorporate a counter bar and seating for Company of Cooks food offer whilst creating an aesthetic that reflected Topolski utilitarian artistic approach.

One of the main interior features is the reclaimed scaffolding structure within the ceiling of the arches displaying Topolski’s artwork – though an ideal solution for showcasing such huge pieces of art work in arch spaces, they also reflect the artist’s down to earth creative approach. The scaffolding structure is clad with simple plywood and soft wood battens, referencing art crates used for transportation. The large bar centrally located follows the same design with softwood battens and ply cladding referencing the art crates. The bar top itself is made from reclaimed school desks whose surfaces are covered in graffiti.

The back of the arch celebrates the Topolski Chronicles – hand sketched accounts of iconic figures, politics and events throughout the 20th Century including Mahatma Ghandi, Winston Churchill, HG Wells and Elvis Presley. B3 Designers have referenced this using bespoke paper mache wallpaper incorporating these illustrations. The use of illustrations is again very reflective of Topolski’s artistic manner, which celebrated art in every day life.

Mark Bithrey, design director and founder of B3 Designers said:

“The physical constraint of the railway arches challenged us in a really exciting way, to innovate a mechanism to hold and display the artwork. The scaffolding structure provided a solution to this and creates a great backdrop for a food, music and dance venue honouring Feliks Topolski’s work.”

Topolski cafe/bar is open from Monday to Saturday. The concise all-day menu, composed by Company of Cooks chef Bruce Wilson and Claire Clark, takes its cue from a range of European cuisines. Whether you come alone or with friends, visitors will be sure to experience Topolski’s passion for life through his artwork, visuals and entertainment evenings. Topolski bar and restaurant opened on November 1 at 150-152 Hungerford Bridge, Concert Hall Approach, Waterloo, London SE1 8XU.

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