LONDON — Soho House continues to crop up across London, adding its flair for cozy hangout spots, colorful, mix-and-match interiors and sunny rooftops to landmark locations across the city.
After the reopening of the group’s outpost on Soho’s Greek Street and the renovation of the historic restaurant Kettner’s, Nick Jones looked to West London for his next project.
The result is White City House, the newest addition to the cluster of Soho House members’ clubs, located inside the former BBC Television Center, one of the most recognizable buildings in the area.
The club stretches across two floors and includes a rooftop pool and bar; a cinema; an events space; a 24,000-square-foot gym complete with an indoor pool, sauna and hammam, and, as per Soho House tradition, an array of laid-back spaces for members to work, eat and drink.
Jones said when it came to designing the space, his focus was on celebrating the building’s rich heritage. “Each house is designed for the neighborhood it’s in and there’s so much history in this site that we wanted to keep that alive and celebrate it. The design here is taken from the history of the building and its Fifties and Sixties heritage, with cues from the BBC hidden all around,” said Jones, pointing to custom-made rugs inspired by the BBC test card, a series of artworks commissioned to honor the BBC television artist Tony Hart and upholstered fabrics by the design company Tibor, which used to also create patterns for the BBC.
Elsewhere, the rooftop is designed to evoke a more exotic atmosphere with a painted timber ceiling, playful printed sun loungers and floor-to-ceiling windows lined with plants and fern trees, while the pool offers ample space to avoid the overcrowding that occurs in the club’s East London outpost, during sunny days.
Downstairs, the eating and lounge areas are heavy on wooden furniture and fabrics in a palette of rich, jewel tones. It makes for a sophisticated yet laid-back space that can lend itself to both business and personal meetings. For the first time, the club’s food offer includes more Eastern-inspired flavors with the addition of dim sum, bao buns and Peking duck to the menu.
The building includes 45 rooms and a ground-floor restaurant and bar, the Allis, that is open to the public, in line with the group’s more democratic approach.
“White City House is for the local creative community, we’re inclusive not exclusive. We want the House to represent the neighborhood in our membership, design, the food and drink and events — we’re also going to be offering mentoring and paid placements through our members for young people in the area,” added Jones.
It’s a long way from the aura of exclusivity more traditional members’ clubs in London, from Annabel’s to Loulou’s and the Arts Club, work so hard to maintain. Annabel’s, which moved to a new space on Berkeley Square earlier this year in a bid to rebrand for the new generation, required for all its members to resubmit membership applications, imposed higher fees and at times, even revoked memberships.
The opening of White City House comes at a time when West London is undergoing a creative revival of sorts, with new restaurants, clubs and creative businesses taking residence in the area and moving away from the East End, which is becoming increasingly commercialized and expensive.
Prior to Soho House’s opening, members’ club the Laylow also quietly opened its doors in the area, with the likes of Bella Freud and Cozette McCreery, creative director of the now-defunct label Sibling, participating in its making. Down the road, the up-and-coming designers Molly Goddard and Hannah Weiland of Shrimps operate their design studios, while restaurants continue to crop up, from the garage-conversion-turned-foodie-destination 108 Garage to the graffiti-filled tacos eatery, Killer Tomato.
“It’s a brilliant area, and it’s very well-positioned. West London has a rich and varied tradition of creative talent and White City will be the beating heart of a revitalized creative quarter,” added Jones.