East Beach Cafe was completed in June 2007 and has since won more than twenty national and international awards for design, architecture, steelwork, craftsmanship and engineering.
The original inspiration for the design was a piece of driftwood, though it references many natural shapes of the coast including sand dunes, waves, rocks and shells.
Made in Littlehampton, the exterior consists of four separate pieces that were made from mild steel, rusted and then coated in a special oil to protect it from the elements. Welded together, the four pieces were formed from hundreds of flat ribbons of steel, each unique in shape, like a giant puzzle completed over nine months by two men. Not dissimilar to the hull of a ship, it is a self-supporting structure (monocoque) and is an extremely complicated piece of engineering.
The whole process from commissioning the architect, Thomas Heatherwick, to completion took 18 months. Thomas heads one of the world's leading design practices and was described recently by The Times as “the most creative mind in Britain”. We are pleased that East Beach Cafe was his first UK building.
"This visionary cafe will have its own Guggenheim effect" - The Guardian