Asif Khan

West Beach Cafe

Gallery / Text

Asif's first project was a cafe in the English seaside town of Littlehampton commissioned on his graduation from the AA, by Jane Wood and Sophie Murray (who had previously commissioned Thomas Heatherwick's award winning East Beach Cafe).  West Beach Cafe’s facade, made from galvanised steel and oversized sash windows, opens up like a dolls house, allowing the building to change with the shifting seasons. It offers a dynamic dining space, expanding and contracting with the weather, integrating the beach as well as providing a sheltered room outside, framing views of the English Channel.

'After we finish talking, Jane drives me over the Arun to the West Beach, and deposits me in her other cafe for lunch. When I arrived the sky was grey, and the rain soaked into my sandals and my silly summer coat. Now, though, as if by magic, the sun has come out. I order fish and chips and a cup of tea, and then a scoop of homemade strawberry ice cream, and I sit in Asif Khan's airy wood and glass box, with only the sound of the sea and one elderly couple (it is early for lunch) for company. It's the British seaside as I always dream of it: the view, so cleverly framed for me by a bright young man barely out of architecture school, and the batter on my haddock, so light and so crisp, are each as delectable as the other.' Rachel Cooke, The Observer, August 2009