Where Art Meets Commerce: PARAMOUNT, a new members’ club at the summit of Centre Point, opens autumn 2008
The official countdown towards the opening of Paramount, a new members’ bar and club occupying the top three floors of the Centre Point building in the heart of London’s West End, has begun with the switching-on for the very first time of a dramatic new light installation at the top of the building. An expansive ‘halo’ of blue light now illuminates the lettering of the building’s iconic external signage – one of the city’s most recognizable and familiar landmarks – heralding the arrival of what is set to be the most exciting new addition to London’s booming restaurant and club scene.
Scheduled to open in October this year, Paramount is a full service members’ club, lounge, bar, restaurant and private-hire events space, designed to offer patrons exceptional facilities, service and produce in an unquestionably spectacular setting. Conceived and overseen by Pierre Condou, who honed his many years’ experience in the bar and restaurant business at the award-winning Bistrot Bruno, L’Odeon restaurant and more recently at the successful Century club on Shaftesbury Avenue, Paramount is based on an evolved model that aims to bring together a wide range of London’s leading influential communities – not just one or two – to meet, eat, drink, relax and exchange ideas. “I have always loved this central high-rise landmark building. It is in all Londoners DNA. I am thrilled to create Paramount at the summit”, says Condou.
Richard Seifert’s Centre Point, completed in 1967, affords Paramount unparalleled views of London, taking in the glistening towers and lights of The City and Canary Wharf in the East, the magnificent unwinding of the River Thames and Westminster to the South, The BT Tower, Oxford Street and Hyde Park in the West and Primrose Hill and the dramatic arch of the new Wembley Stadium in the North. Few, if any, other buildings in the Capital offer such a centrally-located, 360 degree perspective. Magnificent though the views undoubtedly are, there is much more to this building and from the Paramount project.
Mark Way, in Association with Murphy Philipps, was appointed as lead architectural consultant in 2006 to manage the building project from inception to creation. Mark has realized the vision working in close collaboration with British design luminary Tom Dixon, who has responded to the brief with a sophisticated interpretation of a raw and stripped-down aesthetic he has developed over recent years.
“What a dream job…a building so iconic and so mysterious that has been argued and discussed and reviled and now celebrated and we get an opportunity to design a space that all Londoners know, but almost none have visited,” says Dixon.
Here, materials are celebrated as the essential building blocks that they are, unfettered by any excessive ornamentation or fuss that may hide the honest beauty of the end result or that may give rise to a fashion statement that will, by its very nature, be quickly surpassed. Instead, Tom offers a striking, bold and robust design that not only slots seamlessly into Richard Seifert’s architecture, but also offers Paramount a genuine longevity and timeless style.
“We have approached it with two principles in mind, first, the view is Paramount… keeping the lighting levels low and moody. Then we wanted to create something that feels that it has always been part of the building without being nostalgic. A tough, self imposed brief, but luckily the cycle fashion is on our side with brutalism and the radical system architecture of the late sixties being re-assessed,” says Dixon.
The club features unique bespoke Tom Dixon furniture alongside vintage pieces chosen by Tom and Pierre that reflect the modernism of the building.
Paramount ’s different rooms and facilities include a dedicated entrance on the first floor mezzanine level that is accessed via a separate external staircase. Here, atop original 1960s monochrome terrazzo flooring sits a Barbara Hepworth inspired copper reception desk where members and guests are welcomed by Paramount staff. From here, express lifts whisk guests attending events up to the 31st floor events space, which is a self-contained 4,550 sq ft space with a 10 meter-long bar facing the west side (and, of course, London sunsets) designed specifically for private events – launches, dinners, screenings, meetings and presentations – able to accommodate 350 people standing or 160 seated. One level up, on the 32nd floor, is the main hub of the members’ club, featuring a bespoke Tom Dixon copper bar, relaxed dining and lounging areas, a more formal restaurant, and a private dining room. The Viewing Gallery on the 33rd floor is the summit of the building and boasts a members’ Champagne and cocktail bar, which curls around the circumference offering floor to ceiling glazing, in a complete 360 degree circle.
As the club offers all-encompassing views of London, so Paramount’s membership is to reach out to a wide cross section of the City’s professional and creative industries. Co-chaired by Brunswick Group CEO Alan Parker and Stephen Fry, the membership committee includes representatives from cultures as diverse as film, law, media, academia, fashion, publishing, finance and theatre.
Working under the umbrella brief of ‘Art meets Commerce’, the committee are currently inviting individuals from these core areas of London life to join what is fast becoming an exclusive, but more importantly progressive and lively new community of Londoners.
For further information, interior images or interviews please contact:
Kate Atkinson | Purple
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