Mama Shelter

Mama Shelter

The central courtyard of this London hotel is transformed by an elegant sliding glass roof and a bespoke bar canopy.

As a global hotel and restaurant brand, Mama Shelter’s first establishment in London was always going to be a big deal. Priding themselves on the quirkiness of their ‘atypical places’, the brand was looking for something striking for their site in uber-trendy East London. That’s where Breezefree were asked to help out.

As part of the fit-out, the roof of the central courtyard, which previously provided a first-floor roof garden, underwent a radical rethink. The existing roof was removed for Breezefree to install a SolaGlide sliding glass roof to cover the 8.5m x 8.5m courtyard at ground level. The bar located beneath the glass roof also needed a bespoke canopy, designed to contribute to the quirky personality of the establishment.

Challenges included a fairly tight deadline, and the fact that Breezefree had to work around other trades and contractors who were working on the site simultaneously. This was done in a co-ordinated manner, with good Health & Safety practice being paramount. Structural engineering was required to ensure that methods for tying into the existing structure would be suitable. The central courtyard space was also not perfectly square, so pinpoint accuracy during the survey was vital, with the supporting steel structure being manufactured to compensate for this. Access was complex due to the courtyard being in the middle of the building, and restricted manoeuvrability for cranes.

The roof consists of two SolaGlide retracting roofs installed back to back to create a double-pitched roof with 75% opening. The glazing is argon-filled and the frames are thermally broken, for maximum thermal insulation. The acoustic glass is also designed to minimise disturbance of sleeping guests in their rooms above. Due to an impractical initial concept, the bar canopy went through several design stages before it could be made a reality, allowing water run-off into an integrated gutter. A complex bespoke metal frame was manufactured, and a perfectly fitted black and white striped cover made from water-resistant awning fabric was manufactured.

The result is a roof that’s designed to provide good daylight all year round, with shelter and insulation during the winter months. During the summer months its adjustable sliding panes can transform the space into a fully open courtyard, giving the bar area an ambient feeling of airiness. There are also opportunities for ample ventilation whenever the weather is less predictable, with the roof closing automatically at the first sign of rain thanks to the integrated rain sensor. The bespoke canopy provides shade that combines practicality with a hip style statement, reflecting the ethos of the Mama Shelter brand.

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