Sunday, 5 August 2007

East Beach Cafe

Living just along the south coast we took our lunch break at the new East Beach Cafe in sleepy Littlehampton. The building was commissioned by Jane Wood and her daughter Sophie from Designer / sculptor / architect Thomas Heatherwick it's a stunning, iconic and original building shaped (it looks to me) like drift wood on the beach, with contours of welded oxidised Corten Steel making up the shell with the plastered inside echoing the shape of the shell like a high white cave.

Living ourselves in a somewhat forgotten part of the South Coast away from the news inches of trendy Brighton it is instructive as to what a single small iconic building can do to a town. Whilst I'm sure it won't right all wrongs and lead to a total transformation and renaissance of Littlehampton from a depressed seaside resort - it has got a huge ammount of favourable national press and TV coverage for the building, the cafe and the town. What is even more impressive is that it was commissioned by a couple of individuals with a vision and enthusism to invest proper money in their vision. Small town councillors should take notice. It will be interesting to see if all the other cafe owners trumped by East Beach will start redeveloping!

Also the food was good! A little on the pricey side for a boggo caff on the beach, but not too expensive for great food in a fantastic building with a view of the sea and a sandy beach nearby.

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