This morning I was lucky enough to be invited to a meeting at Paramount – the event space, restaurant and bar complex that occupies the top three floors of the Centrepoint Building on London’s New Oxford St.
Centrepoint has an interesting history. Completed in 1966 it was one of the first of London’s very tall buildings, executed in the brutalist style. Because of a desire by the original owner Harry Hyams to only lease it to a single company it stood devoid of business activity for the first ten years of its life, the property company having been unable to find a corporation prepared to take it on. It’s first occupants were actually squatters – members of the Homeless Action Campaign, who took up residence in the space now occupied by Paramount in 1974 to protest about the inaction of the Government of the day in helping the increasing numbers of rough sleepers in central London.
These days Centrepoint is largely occupied – it’s longest serving tenants are the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) who have leased several floors of the building for the last 32 years. The Paramount complex was created in 2008 by designer Tom Dixon, at the end of a refurbishment programme following a change in ownership of the building. The 31st floor contains a large conference suite while the 32nd houses a bar and restaurant. On the top floor there is a champagne and cocktail bar that wraps around the building’s exterior. Surprisingly, dining at Paramount isn’t incredibly expensive – you should expect to pay around £100 for a two course meal for two including a bottle of wine. Because of the spectacular views it is incredibly sought after however – you’ll have to reserve a table well in advance of the date that you plan to visit in order to secure your place.
Did I mention the views? Because the nearest tall buildings are nearly two miles away in the City of London, the top floors of Centrepoint offer an unobstructed vista that takes in the entire London skyline. We Londoners are very much used to seeing slivers of sky between buildings so its quite awe-inspiring to be able to see it all in one go through the building’s large windows. You should bear in mind, however, that to get a good look at the Palace of Westminster and the London Eye you do have to stand outside the gent’s toilets…
Feast your eyes on these photographs which show the view from the 31st floor – you can find the remainder in this album on Google+.