Picturing London

Architects' visions: Gerrard Street

Design for the proposed conversion of Chez Taglioni restaurant

Front entrance: Design for Chez Taglioni restaurant, Gerrard Street, 1939
Artist and designer: Oliver Hill
© RIBA Library Drawings and Archives Collections


When the Chez Taglioni restaurant commissioned Oliver Hill for a modernisation of its dining room, the architect replaced the Georgian building's original sash windows with large expanses of glazing. On the doorframe and railings, ornament has been eliminated in favour of clean lines. Passers by were meant to see into this 'Streamlined Moderne' restaurant and understand that the eatery was fresh, clean and contemporary.

In this night-time rendering, Hill depicts an architecture of light. A rapid and intuitive use of strong lines, accentuated by swift strokes of colour pencils, makes the design appear effortlessly tasteful. The interior of the restaurant is bright and welcoming, while the street remains dark and foreboding. Hill worked at a time when the idea of Modernism was first being popularised by architects in Britain, and his airy, modern design would have appealed to the fashionable Londoner.


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