A name that evokes the memory of London’s past was preserved with the rebirth of The Gun in Spitalfields, London.
This part of the capital was once the practice site of the Honourable Artillery Company, after King Henry VIII granted permission for them to use it as a weapons practice ground. The Gun began life in the 16th Century as a tavern serving the soldiers of the Artillery Barracks near Artillery Lane. It moved on a number of occasions, finally finding a permanent home in Brushfield Street 1929. It was for a long time a welcome feature of Spitalfields for thirsty traders at the nearby market.
The Gun closed in 2015 and the building demolished to make way for the new London Fruit and Wool Exchange development. But ‘time’ was not to be completely called on the pub. Heineken and the East London Pub Co got involved, with a pledge to create a new Gun in the 4,500sq ft of the ground floor of the development.
Christopher Lees of D-raw Architects was commissioned to design the new watering hole, drawing on inspiration from 17th century London with unique metal work, wood and natural stone helping to create an evocative historical ambience.
For Diespeker, it meant the opportunity to be involved with both flooring and furniture elements of the project, with both based around an exquisite granite, Verde Marinace. As the name suggests, Verde Marinace is a green granite, but embedded within are petrified pebbles of grey, pink and moss green. It may look as though it must be manmade but is a purely natural stone only found in Brazil. As with most granites, it is an extremely durable material – perfect for a busy London drinking house.
Working with leisure industry contractor WFC Contractors, Diespeker created a substantial apron in granite paving which runs the length of the bar and abuts the old wood flooring with inlaid strips and a brass edging. The entrance lobby is a stunning combination of granite slabs with The Gun logo in waterjet-cut brass, inlaid flush with the slabs and centred on the door opening.
In addition, collaborating via Hub-3 with the furniture contractor, Diespeker made ten round and square table tops from the same granite with a bullnose edge. One was fashioned with a hole in the middle to house an expansive bonsai tree! Four amenity shelves with square corners and bullnose to the front edge were also made by Diespeker and mounted on Jacobean timber supports.
An extra contribution was made by Diespeker in the form of the loan of two pieces of artwork, originating from Sri Lanka; one a 3-D female torso formed from washers and the other a large piece crafted from recycled car parts.
The overall impression of The Gun after its move and circa £2.5 million makeover is a combination of tasteful elegance and stripped back industrial. MD John Krause attended the launch event and after stepping across the inlaid brass logo into the striking interior, says he was delighted with the effect of the spectacular granite.
Photography by Kris Humphreys