Did you ever wonder what happened to the old BBC headquarters at Television Centre since the company moved out in 2013? Well the entire site has been completely redeveloped, and part of that has been the creation of the swanky White City House.
Home to the BBC for 53 years Television Centre was steeped in history. Fawlty Towers, Z Cars, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Porridge, Absolutely Fabulous, Blue Peter, Match Of The Day, Never Mind The Buzzcocks, Little Britain, Top Of The Pops, Doctor Who, you name it, it was made there.
So naturally when it sold to reduce costs by the corporation a lot of people were concerned what would become of the building.
Consisting of 15 studios (one of which contained another 10 smaller studios) over 14 acres, the site was turned into 1000 new homes, entertainment and leisure facilities, office space, with 3 studios remaining including Studio 1 (which is a Grade II listed building), and a Hotel and Restaurant called the White City House.
As part of the Soho House members club along with 45 bedrooms for overnight stays, White City House also offers two floors of lounges along with a rooftop pool and bar, a private cinema, and a 2,230 -square-metre gym.
Designed by Linda Boronkay it combines the club’s signature interiors style, featuring dark velvet seats and brass-accented bars, with pieces that allude to the building’s prime time during the 60’s and 70’s.
Perhaps the star of the show is the tenth floor open-air swimming pool overlooking the White City, which is surrounded by sun loungers and parasols covered in a jaunty 60’s style palm print.
Custom pale terrazzo tiles run from outside the pool to the curving indoor bar, which has been given a beach house vibe thanks to the white gloss painted timber ceilings and wooden tables and chairs.
Down a spiraling dark wood staircase to the ninth floor are more members’ spaces. With wrap-around glazing and a glass ceiling, the Horizon Terrace leads out from the main bar and is stuffed full of ferns and other foliage.
The bar itself is upholstered in plush plum-coloured velvet studded with brass button, with more polished metal used for the industrial-style drinks racks. Again, the floor is custom terrazzo.
The house restaurant serves an ‘east meets west’ style menu, fusing Peking duck and bao buns with the club’s standard plant-based fare, at mid-century imitation tables and chairs.
Large windows give views over the city, and the fluted-oak wall panels, with their distinctly retro vibe, were modelled on the original panels that lined the reception room when the BBC occupied the building. An art collection of works honouring English artist and BBC legendary presenter Tony Hart permanently occupies one wall.
In the ‘games room’ members can work at the tables during the day surrounded by fabrics and furnishing that were made ion collaboration with Tibor – a textile designer that made patterns for the BBC. The room also includes a bespoke rug that is woven to look like the famous BBC test card.
On the second and third floor of the Helios building – which is also Grade II listed – are the 45 hotel rooms, decked out with more mid-century furniture in the form of terrazzo table, wardrobes with fluted timber panels and modernist style wooden minibars.
Lamps originally designed by American designer George Nelson light up the rooms, and the titles are another custom pattern taken from the original BBC designs.
In the basement of the Helios sits the house gym – which is the largest gym in the entire hotel chain – complete with high end equipment and a 17-metre swimming pool. Timber panels and dark grey tiles feature in the exercise areas and the changing rooms.
And back up to the ground floor sits the Allis lounge and bar, which is open to the public, with moulded brass bars set in parquet floors and fluted timber walls, as well as the two-screen cinema which has dark blue carpets and velvet walls’ patterned in very 60’s geometric print.
For further information on the White City House please see their website here.