Fettle, the LA and London-based design studio, has designed Chucs Café Kensington, the first in a series of all-day dining destinations situated in some of London’s most desirable neighbourhoods. Chucs will serve up authentic Italian classics alongside international favourites to both locals and tourists alike.
Photography: Helen Cathcart
Chucs has four existing London outposts – in Mayfair, Westbourne Grove, Harrods and the Serpentine, and Chucs Café Kensington, located on London’s Old Brompton Road, marks the group’s first foray into casual dining. The timeless and elegant interiors of Chucs Cafe Kensington are inspired by the splendour and effortless glamour of 1950s’ Italy. A sumptuous colour palette evokes the spirit of the Amalfi coast, with details and finishes reminiscent of luxury sporting endeavours, from yachts and classic Italian sports cars, to the everlasting elegance of a vintage train carriage.
The interior of the café is fresh and inviting, creating an environment that is welcoming during the day whilst remaining warm and intimate during evening service. The signature feature of the space is a curved, marble topped bar with an angled oak undercounter featuring brass detailing. Above the bar hang three oversized burnished brass and opal glass pendants. The timber framed back bar includes ribbed antique mirror panels with timber and brass shelving. Fettle has also designed a series of bespoke bar stools – upholstered in pink leather with a fluted black base – that sit in front of the counter.The walls of Chucs Café Kensington are clad in oak panelling with a reddish stain, similar in tone to the teak used in classic car dashboards and on the decks of yachts. At low level, panelling is tongue and grove, whilst above dado height the timber includes inset panels of antique mirror and Pierre Frey’s Yangzi Ocean wallpaper. Artwork curated by Nicholas Campbell of Narcissus Arts is hung from antique mirror panels and includes works by Stuart Cantor and Slim Aarons. At high level, the timber panelling is inset with hand-painted high gloss blue painted timber panels. The high-level panels include additional artworks, as well as a series of black and white photographs.
A dark-stained, original face timber floor in the main space transitions into a bespoke patterned marble floor in-front of the bar, which continues to the rear of the room. Fettle has used a mix of black, white, pink and yellow marble to create this pattern, which refers back to the main colour palette.The ceiling throughout the space is clad in high gloss, hand painted, off-white timber tongue and groove panelling, and includes two large feature antique brass and prismatic glass pendants with a dome shape and petal edge detail. Other lighting within the space is created with burnished brass picture lights and Ralph Lauren brass and glass rod wall lights sourced from Visual Comfort.
Fettle has also designed freestanding banquettes for Chucs Café Kensington, that sit on either side of the room. These are upholstered in a striking petrol blue leather and sit alongside bespoke marble table tops with chamfered corners and timber edge detail. Alongside the banquettes sit bespoke arm chairs, inspired by classic Italian dining chairs, upholstered in a pale-yellow, textured fabric.
To the rear of the space, Fettle has designed two booth banquettes. These incorporate the same petrol blue leather used in the front of the space, with an additional touch of luxury added by a pale blue velvet on the back. Between each pair of booth seats, a curved brass and ribbed glass screen has been introduced to create a feeling of privacy for diners.Chucs Café Kensington also benefits from a large outdoor terrace – a sizable space which wraps around the building and doubles the number of restaurant covers. The façade is painted in powder blue, while existing windows and doors have been repainted in a navy-blue high gloss. Fettle has also introduced traditional Victorian awnings to the exterior.
In addition to the awnings, Fettle has introduced an internally-illuminated curved antique brass over door sign that is fret-cut in the shape of the Chucs flag logo, as well as creating an internally-illuminated menu box. The final element of signage is a bespoke gold leaf painted window sign commissioned by the finishes company.
The outdoor terrace features a new timber deck in a warm reddish tone, reminiscent of the teak decking used in yacht design. To align with the building’s existing architecture, Fettle has designed a traditional tile pattern. However, to update this design, the team selected a vibrant colour palette of blue, white, yellow and pink tiles, creating a colourful feature area.
Ceramic heaters and burnished brass wall lights on the terrace allow the space to be used year-round. Outdoor benches with loose blue seat pads feature brightly coloured scatter cushions. The benches are paired with Brebant Maison J. Gatti rattan dining chairs clad with a blue and white weave.