Dezeen Magazine

River Café by Stuart Forbes and Richard Rogers

Stuart Forbes Associates and Richard Rogers have redesigned the famous River Café in London, UK.


The redesign unites kitchen and dining room and features a large wood-fired oven.


The restaurant, owned by Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray, temporarily closed earlier this year following a fire.
Photographs by Grant Smith. The following is from Stuart Forbes Associates and Richard Rogers:


New look River Café unveiled

The River Café, one of London’s most celebrated restaurants, opened its doors on 6 October after a £2 million redesign by Stuart Forbes Associates and Richard Rogers. Following a fire earlier this year, co-owners Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray commissioned Stuart Forbes and Richard Rogers to design the space with a new open kitchen, private dining room and cocktail bar.


“The dynamic relationship between the chefs, the kitchen and the public is a focal point of the design” says Stuart Forbes.


Significant additions also include a kitchen table within the working kitchen zone and a glass enclosed cheese room based on a classic Italian design. The kitchen is now completely open to public view, enabling diners to observe chefs in action. A notable addition is a new wood burning oven, dominating the dining room and kitchen. Manufactured by the Italian firm of Valoriani, this type of oven – made in Reggello, in the hills of Tuscany 25 km southeast of Florence – is key to the preparation of The River Café’s many dishes.


Commenting on the re-design, Richard Rogers states: “Stuart and I set out to make distinctive but subtle changes – we have significantly remodelled The River Café while respecting its visual identity and retaining its original elegance.”


Visitors familiar with the restaurant will also find that a new reception desk has been introduced: constructed of vivid yellow ‘Corian’ and dramatically top-lit, this new area is located next to The River Café bar, which has now been adapted and enhanced with a new back-lit bottle display. Behind the scenes, the bathrooms have been re-planned and reconstructed, with fluorescent primary colours and significantly increased space.