Pollini wins Best Restaurant in the Wallpaper* Design Awards 2024

Pollini is the project of Vincenzo de Cotiis Architects and chef Emanuele, Ladbroke Hall's new restaurant

Interior of Pollini restaurant
(Image credit: Courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery)

Carpenters Workshop Gallery’s new London restaurant, Pollini at Ladbroke Hall, brings together the skills of two Italian creatives – chef Emanuele Pollini and architect Vincenzo De Cotiis – under the vaulted ceiling of London's new destination for art, design, music and food.

The duo have joined forces before, with the gallery’s co-founders Loïc Le Gaillard and Julien Lombrail first sampling Emanuele Pollini’s handiwork at a dinner hosted by De Cotiis in Milan. ‘We felt it was rare to find someone who could put so much emotion into a plate of pasta,’ says Le Gaillard. ‘And as with all of our artists, we were looking for a chef who could tell a story.’

Pollini at Ladbroke Hall

Interiors of Pollini at Ladbroke Hall with chandelier

(Image credit: Carpenters Workshop Gallery)

Pollini’s playground is the magnificent arched space that was once the entrance to the former Sunbeam Talbot Motor Company. Its 1903, Grade II-listed architecture has been preserved and accentuated by De Cotiis, who has drawn on the monochrome colour palette of the original details, such as a marble balustrade, and added reflective surfaces. ‘The restaurant doesn't just occupy the space; it converses with it,’ he insists.

Seated at tables topped with hand-patinated, reclaimed fibreglass – also designed by the architect – guests will be taken on a journey through Emanuele Pollini’s childhood in Italy. In the chef’s homage to his mother’s lasagna, for example, the Italian classic is reborn as ravioli, served with dried ragu ‘chips’ that evoke the sumptuous crust of the original.

Interior of restaurant Pollini at Ladbroke Hall

(Image credit: Carpenters Workshop Gallery)

The gallerists worked with Emanuele Pollini – named Gambero Rosso’s chef of the year in 2020 – just as they would with any of their artists and designers, challenging his vision, curating the dishes that they felt were most ‘relevant’ and suggesting tweaks to flavours and presentation. ‘The philosophy behind Ladbroke Hall is all about creative dialogue,’ says Le Gaillard.

Meanwhile, De Cotiis’ challenge was to make the building’s imposing Beaux-Arts architecture feel intimate. His solution was to cocoon part of the central bar area with a sculptural fibreglass wall, lined with hand-treated granite on the inside, and shelves made from antiqued glass.

Bar inside Pollini at Ladbroke Hall

(Image credit: Carpenters Workshop Gallery)

The black tones of the bar, seating and tables give way to white on the walls, drawing the focus to the architectural detailing and a vast chandelier by Nacho Carbonell that plunges from the ceiling – an organic spectacle in which glowing metal meshes unfurl from gnarled branches.

Antiqued and hand-patinated surfaces are a De Cotiis hallmark writ large in his current exhibition, 'Archaeology of Consciousness', which opened at Ladbroke Hall during Frieze Week 2023 and runs until 28 January 2024. A series of distorted arch sculptures are presented in a ruin setting, their rare stone, reclaimed fibreglass and Murano glass marked by a combination of natural erosion and hand-patination. De Cotiis’ goal for these ambiguous objects, he says, is to ‘reframe our understanding of ruins, not as remains of the past, but as fragments of a future yet to be constructed’.

Food from Pollini at Carpenters Workshop Gallery

(Image credit: Courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery)

Visitors to the show can explore this ruined landscape before interacting with De Cotiis’ work more directly in Pollini at Ladbroke. This gets to the heart of the gallerists’ goals for Ladbroke Hall. ‘It’s not enough to just show beautiful art anymore – we want to offer an experience,’ Le Gaillard explains, adding that food is a vital part of the ‘cultural ecosystem’ that they are incubating in west London.

At Ladbroke Hall, art, design and linguine ai ricci also come with a side-dish of jazz on Friday evenings, and from next week, visitors will also be able to pop down for an aperitif at ‘Lamyland’, a bar, lounge and recording studio conceived by French designer-artist Michèle Lamy. In spring 2024, diners will also be able to spill out onto the new garden by London-based designer Luciano Giubbilei.

Chandelier at Pollini at Ladbroke Hall

(Image credit: Carpenters Workshop Gallery)

Dish of food at Pollini at Ladbroke Hall

(Image credit: Carpenters Workshop Gallery)


A version of this article appears in the February 2024 issue of Wallpaper* – dedicated to the Wallpaper* Design Awards 2024 – available in print, on the Wallpaper* app on Apple iOS, and to subscribers of Apple News +. Subscribe to Wallpaper* today

Malaika Byng is an editor, writer and consultant covering everything from architecture, design and ecology to art and craft. She was online editor for Wallpaper* magazine for three years and more recently editor of Crafts magazine, until she decided to go freelance in 2022. Based in London, she now writes for the Financial Times, Metropolis, Kinfolk and The Plant, among others.