The Frontline Club

Restaurant refurbishment in collaboration with FAR Frohn & Rojas

Skene Catling de la Peña have been involved with The Frontline Club and restaurant since its inception in 2003, when Vaughan Smith bought an empty 19th century building in Paddington, once a Hackney Carriages workshop, and later an ironmonger. Skene Catling de la Peña did a major reconfiguration and restoration of the entire building and established a relationship that has continued over many years.

The Frontline Club headquarters was established in honour of Smith’s colleagues at the Frontline News Television agency who died pursuing their work. Comprising a restaurant, bar, event venue and hotel rooms, it quickly became a centre for a diverse group of people united by their passion for, and dedication to, quality journalism, politics and current affairs. It exists to promote freedom of expression and support journalists, cameramen and photographers who risk their lives in the course of their work.

The latest stage of work was the remodelling and enlargement of the restaurant in 2017. The design counters the limitations of the restaurant space through a ‘double extension’: adding a new mezzanine level and multiplying views through reflection. A polished chrome stair and walls create intriguing, multiple views and relationships between visitors and their surroundings. Design insertions such as the structural banquette seating along the edge of the mezzanine sit on the borderline between furniture and architecture. A monolithic bar of black stone with crystalline inclusions forms a sculptural central ground floor hub.