National Theatre

If it ain’t broke, make it better


Due to our significant expertise, IVORY have been trusted with interior design projects for some of London’s greatest listed buildings, including the Barbican Arts Centre and historic headquarters of The Law Society.


These places already have history and personality that must be respected. We have a track record of navigating the challenge this represents to create interior design that enhances and celebrates the beautiful building surrounding it.

The National Theatre is a grade I listed building on London’s South Bank. We were invited to redesign the theatre’s Lyttelton Café and Espresso Bar. The new space had to conform to English Heritage preservation requirements (even down to the materials used), but also embody the forward-thinking nature of the contemporary National Theatre. It had to attract a new younger audience to the space, but also avoid alienating loyal regulars.


Our solution fused the elegance of Denys Lasdun’s original architecture with a more contemporary feel. We connected the design language of the Café and Espresso Bar in an overall scheme that rhymed with the theatre around it, while a palette of man-made stone and warm dark timber gave the spaces a material relationship to the larger environment. In terms of the layout, we took a lot of care with visual sight lines so the café was easily locatable but didn’t attract attention to itself when not in operation (as the theatre is often open when it is not).

Based on this work we were called in by the theatre to consult on how the front-of-house visitor experience could be improved. Our suggestions were to open up the front of the theatre to the river, reposition and re-plan key customer interfaces, and make these more visible and intuitive to use. Together, this would create an elegant but functional combination of booking, retail and information.

IVORY is Worldwide

  • London

    IVORY Worldwide Limited
    13-14 Chelsea Wharf
    15 Lots Road
    SW10 0QJ

    T: +44 20 3327 7020

    Robbie Crittall

  • Dubai

    IVORY Consultancy DMCC
    Swiss Tower
    10th Floor Jumeirah Lake Towers
    PO Box 643718, Dubai, UAE

    T: +971 4 433 0522
    T: +971 5664 07051

    David Wise

  • New York

    IVORY Worldwide, Inc.
    99 Hudson St
    New York
    NY 10013
    United States

    T: +1 917 733 2806

    Mike Paxson

  • Johannesburg

    IVORY Connection (Pty) Limited
    West Tower, 2nd Floor
    Nelson Mandela Square
    Maude Street, Sandton
    Johannesburg 2146
    South Africa

    T: +27 10 500 8918

    Ali Bowes

  • Geneva

    18, Avenue Louis-Casaï
    Geneva 1209

    T: +41 22 5607450

    Robbie Crittall