Art Deco arches, complex carpentry and impressive details

Every project is special to us, but sometimes a job comes along that we know in our bones will become an iconic space. When we were asked to strip out and refurb the existing building on the Serpentine in Hyde Park it was one of those moments.

A perfect storm of iconic elements – the building itself: Long, louche and art deco, complete with clock tower, a large alfresco area and lots of inherited unknowns to keep us on our toes. The location: The south side of the Serpentine, right on the Lido and very near the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain, with stunning views across the park. The client, Colicci: A family business steeped in history, the Coliccis started with a single ice-cream van almost 40 years ago and now operate over 30 fixed venues across London.

The vision was clear – art deco arches, complex carpentry, clay ovens and impressive details, like the distinctive Tom Raffield pendant lights. We worked closely with Article Design Studio, the Royal Parks and the client to ensure the desired look was achieved within budget, whilst working around operational restraints. Rob Colicci, Director, is fulsome in his praise! “Lee and James were both an absolute pleasure to work with”, he says, “I really appreciated the fact that they would go over and above to try and ensure the variations didn’t rack up, and we were as close to budget as possible. It was very easy to keep track of variations, adds and omits as James would send minutes of every meeting along with the running total so there was never any shocks or confusion.”

Another first for this project was that we set up a time-lapse camera to record the journey of the project coming to fruition. As Rob Colicci told us, “The overall speed at which the project ran was possibly the thing that impressed the most, without ever compromising quality.” We know we’re fast, but this is the quickest we’ve ever worked! Take a look our time lapse footage, which really gives a flavour of how a refurb comes together and how efficiently we work.

The practical and technical skills of our team is just part of the story, however. We are proud of the atmosphere of friendly professionalism we have created and it’s so fulfilling to know that the time and effort we invest into maintaining and nurturing our working relationships really does inspire trust and loyalty. The following comment from Rob Colicci brings a lump to our throats:

“The project was by far our most well executed, professional, and overall best finish and quality we’ve ever undertaken. Whenever the time comes to be doing our next project, I wouldn’t dare look anywhere else than GS to undertake it.”

We very much look forward to it! And in the meantime, the Café at the Serpentine Lido is going to be one of our very first ports of call as soon as summer arrives – we’ll be the ones people-watching from the terrace with a large ice-cream in hand!

If you have a retail, leisure or hospitality project you could use our team’s help with then don’t hesitate to get in touch

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