2010/01/17

Michelin House London U.K.


Michelin House at 81 Fulham Road, Chelsea, London was constructed as the first permanent UK headquarters and tyre depot for the Michelin Tyre Company Ltd. The building opened for business on 20 January 1911.
Designed by one of Michelin’s employees François Espinasse, the original building features 3 large stained glass windows. The designs are based on Michelin adverts of the time, and all feature the Michelin Man “Bibendum”. At street level, there are a number of decorative tiles of famous racing cars of the time which used Michelin tyres. These decorative tiles wrap around the front of the original building. More tiles can be found inside the front of the building which was originally a tyre fitting bay for passing motorists. People walking into the reception of the building are greeted by a mosaic on the floor showing Bibendum holding aloft a glass of nuts, bolts and other hazards proclaiming "Nunc Est Bibendum" (Latin for "now is the time to drink"). The reception area features more decorative tiles around its walls. Two glass cupolas, which look like piles of tyres, frame either side of the front of the building.







Michelin moved out of the building in 1985, and it was purchased by the late publisher Paul Hamlyn and restaurateur/retailer Sir Terence Conran. The pair had shared a love for the building for many years and embarked on a major redevelopment, which included the restoring of some the buildings original features. The new development featured offices for Paul Hamlyn’s publishing company and a shop and restaurant for Sir Terence Conran’s retailing and restaurant group.

In August 1987, Michelin House re-opened as a restaurant and bar: Bibendum Restaurant & Oyster Bar, offices for Octopus Publishing and The Conran Shop.



















The architect behind Michelin House was François Espinasse (1880-1925), who was employed as an engineer in the construction department at Michelin’s headquarters in Clermount-Ferrand. It is believed that he worked on the design of Michelin's Headquarters in Paris (1908), but this is the only other known architectural work of his. The French Order of Architects in Paris have no record of him. Not much else is known about him other than he spent most of his working life at Michelin.





Source photo's: Wikipedia + unknown

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