Today’s image comes from Michelin House on the Fulham Road in Chelsea, London. I was on my way from the V&A Museum to the Saatchi Gallery on the King’s Road, Chelsea and quite by accident found myself facing this famous and extraordinary building.
More about the building’s history in a moment. I wandered around the exterior, taking some obvious documentary shots in light that was not particularly complimentary to the building. And then I happened to glance up to the stained glass window on the first floor (US – ‘second floor’) and saw the profile of a face clearly defined in the bright area of the window of what I assumed must be the Bibendum Restaurant that I realized was in this part of the building.
This building was built as the UK Headquarters and tyre depot for the Michelin Tyre Company Ltd and opened in 1911. The building’s design has features of the Art Nouveau movement, but in other respects it has a lot in common with the later Art Deco style. There are three stained glass windows that feature the famous Michelin man “Bibendum”. The exterior of the building is decorated with tiles including tiled vignettes of famous racing cars. It really is a one-off building.
The building was vacated by Michelin in 1985 and purchased by Sir Terence Conran and Paul Hamlyn. It now houses the well known Bibendum Restaurant, and café, the Conran shop, and rents out other office space.
For those wanting to know about this remarkable building and how “Bibendum” became the name of the Michelin Man please click on one or both of the links below: