The Cross is re-born; clashing raw structure with red velvet thanks to B3 Designers

Recently re-launched, The Cross in London’s King Cross boasts six floors of hospitality in the stomping ground close to the original 90s hip destination.

B3 led the design process in collaboration with the Founders of The Cross, Gemma and Billy Reilly. Each floor is truly unique; from a night club in the basement to luxury dining in the restaurant and drinks with views on the roof terrace. The space is revived, renewed and regenerated with constant nods to the venue’s original 90s era.

For such a unique venue where each floor offers an exclusive experience, we reimagined key elements from The Cross’s 30 year history. “The Cross has grown up!” says Mark Bithrey, Founder of B3 Designers.

The overarching narrative of the space celebrates the namesake, location and history of The Cross. The design concept, inspired by the structure of the original building itself, as well as the industrial surroundings of the Kings Cross area in London. “The challenge we faced was capturing the essence of a moment in time - which would be the foundation for all that would come next - without trying to replicate it or be cheesy in the process,” says Roisin Reilly, Director and lead Designer on the project from B3 Designers. 

As guests enter the welcoming Lobby adorned with lush velvet curtains juxtaposed with a reclaimed chandelier lying in a rubble of bricks, guests can move throughout the space which transform from day to night. In the Ground Floor Bar, there is comfortable lounge seating and live DJs, on the First Floor there is a more formal dining experience with the Second Floor being more relaxed serving drinks and light bites. Guests can choose their preferred level of energy or intimacy, with each space representing a different experience, and all spaces feel approachable yet glamorous, sophisticated yet cheeky. The chic Top Floor boasts a plush laid back vibe in total contrast to the dark industrial basement nightclub where guests dance the night away. The design team focussed on each floor having a distinct narrative yet smooth transition from day-to-night while considering the practicalities of robustness like all hospitality venues.

The outdoor terrace is glorious for an afternoon coffee above the rooftops of Kings Cross but as the day unfolds and the skyline becomes twinkling and quiet, it’s the perfect backdrop for evening drinks with friends.

"While working through our overall design themes, we wanted to ensure we were celebrating the honesty and raw industrial elements of the building's shell, adding layers of comfort and glamour, and topping it off with beautiful unexpected finishes. The material palette for The Cross is extensive but it underpins the entire guest experience" says Roisin Reilly. 

The First Floor greets guests with a show-stopping marble-top bar, stripped-back brick walls and original timber floors, beautiful burnt orange banquettes, bespoke dining furniture, dots of planting and reclaimed vintage glass chandeliers and wall lights from Renaissance London Lighting.

The Second Floor is designed to be a spill-over to dining with its own all-day lounge vibe. Characterful reclaimed timbers on the walls and floor provide a raw backdrop to a turned-up and luxurious collection of furniture.

The Third Floor is an unexpected celebration in red and thus named “The Red Room”. With textured crocodile-skin effect wallpaper adorning the walls, complemented by lush bespoke geometric carpet from Ege, velvet lounge seating, and a rolled fabric bar-front, the top floor at The Cross is a surprising reward for guests who will be transported to a glamorous, intimate lounge experience. The ceiling truly is a marvel, with B3 Designers’ concept being executed by French artist Pierre Clement.

Working with fabric houses such as Casamance, Kvadrat & Osborne & Little, an eclectic palette of textures and layers has been created. Mutina tiles on the Ground Floor bar are a modernised nod to the red brick of London and original sofas from The Cross have been reupholstered and revived.

"We really loved working with Billy and Gemma's down-to-earth style. Nothing is impossible with them. It was great discussing ideas with them and really seeing them push the boundaries of what the Cross is now it is 20 years on”  says Mark Bithrey.

From Gemma Reilly; “B3 stood out to us from the start, the mood board in the concept presentation represented the brand and direction we wanted to take perfectly.

We had a unique situation where Billy would be on-site doing the build with his team so our needs for the designers we worked with was to be truly collaborative. B3 were really suited to us and the project because of their creativity, experience and openness. They took care in all their decisions and we wouldn’t hesitate to work with them in the future.” 

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