Creative design studio specialising in architecture, product and environments.

Floating restaurant to tackle hidden homelessness


Case Study: Antepavilion Competition

Pavilion architecture is often wasteful, formalist and purposeless - directing designers' energy away from real problems in society.

Our Antepavilion submission turns this supposition on its head by creating a valuable space for a start-up social enterprise. 

The Brief

"An annual competition to design and build an experimental structure for an evolving series of installations on public display at Hoxton Docks on the Regent’s canal at Haggerston."

Architects, artists and designers were invited to propose a floating structure to be sited on the Regent’s canal at Hoxton Docks in Hackney. The platform for entries is the 62 foot motor barge, ‘Ouse’, built in 1934 for canal operators, Canal Transport Ltd for maintenance on the Leeds-Liverpool canal. Ouse is now moored alongside Hoxton Docks as a base for the new structure."

Read the full brief here


Our Project Partner

Fat Macy's is a social enterprise providing opportunities for young Londoners living in homeless hostel accommodation.

They run supper club events and training to create a framework through which participants can overcome the financial barriers preventing them from moving into rented accommodation, whilst gaining valuable work experience and giving them the confidence to challenge the perception of homelessness.

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Our Approach

Our design proposal is to convert the Ouse into a travelling supper-club for Fat Macy’s, a social enterprise tackling the hidden homelessness crisis.

The concept is to create a nomadic, hidden space, concealed by a minimal roof form in the day, which dramatically opens each evening capturing the attention of passers-by.

The proposal will create value in the following ways:

Purposeful: It will create real impact to people's lives who are in need of help, while raising awareness about an important social issue.

Sustainable: An operator will maintain the structure by using it and reinvesting revenue into its upkeep so it won't fall into disrepair.

Functional: The design creates a space to be used by people, both employees and visitors, for dinners, events and talks.

Political: It will raise awareness of the ‘hidden homeless’ crisis.
Let's send a message to the serpentine by creating a pavilion with social impact.


The design’s low profile means it can pass under canal bridges, allowing it to reach a larger number of visitors. The roof is made from translucent polycarbonate panels that transmit diffuse light so it's possible to prep food when the roof is lowered.


The space will operate as a cafe from noon to 5pm, with a range of events on the weekends. From 7pm guests arrive for the supper club. A large shared table seats 24 diners on a raised platform with views over the canal.


When not in use the monolithic form seems to float just above the water line. From noon each day, the lightweight roof is opened with the assistance of a winch mechanism to form a dramatic canopy framing the dining space.

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Watch this space.

This is a live project with the winner annouced later in the year.  Check back for updates as the project progresses.

Next Case Study: Regenerating a former industrial estate through a series of architectural interventions