East Beach

Earlier this week I posted a minimalist Seascape (click here) taken in Littlehampton, a seaside town in West Sussex on the south coast of England. There has been a human settlement here since Roman times. For centuries Littlehampton was a fishing port, it wasn’t until the eighteenth century that it developed into a holiday destination and economic success followed with a Ferry to Honfleur in Northern France. Now the Port is principally used by pleasure craft.

We went to Littlehampton for one simple reason: to see the East Beach Café. At face value that might sound like a very strange reason for going to a place – to see a café. You’re probably thinking: must be a pretty special café. And you would be right. It is indeed special – a unique structure.

DSC_2294It was designed by Thomas Heatherwick, an award–winning designer who founded the Heatherwick Studio. The studio is perhaps most famous in the UK for the design of the London Olympic Cauldron for the 2012 Games, but its projects span the globe. The East Beach Café was built in 2007.

The building is a fully welded structure, with a rough, weathered appearance. Think of it as a striking piece of driftwood or flotsam washed up on the shore.

DSC_3838It sits in an isolated spot on the East beach and its appearance, from any viewpoint, is striking. Set apart from it a little further up the beach is an array of Beach Huts. Thankfully they do not intrude on the space that the Café justifiably requires to show itself off to full advantage.

DSC_2307Importantly, it is not just the exterior that is to be admired. East beach Café is far from being a basic café. It serves excellent award-winning food. It’s well worth the visit – we had an excellent lunch here.

Check out East beach Café’s website for further information on the Building and also to see the Menus.

The images in the gallery that follows were taken on two different days (it’s easy to see the difference). An overcast day on which the seascape, previously mentioned was taken. And another sunnier day. Of all the images my personal favourite is the very last image in the gallery below. Actually the B&W conversion was only completed earlier this week. I’ve included the original colour shot as well for a comparison.

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About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'. I'm not averse to manipulating images to produce derivatives that may sometimes be far removed from the original.
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21 Responses to East Beach

  1. Chillbrook says:

    I can see why you like the last image so much Andy. I rather like the colour one too mind you. But, a lot of drama in the conversion however. A fascinating building. I can imagine the planners came in for a lot of local opposition, landing this on the beach but it really works doesn’t it? If ever I’m in the area I will definitely make a visit. I’ve just looked at the menus.. 🙂

    • LensScaper says:

      It was certainly a bold decision by the planners, Adrian. Actually they have acquired an ‘installation’ that is famous because of the designer. I realize, rather bizarrely, that I have never been to the other end of the building and photographed it from that angle. I’m sure that you would enjoy it. It seems to work in good weather and bad too.

  2. Len says:

    What a stellar and unique location Andy. Your images are terrific and Littlehampton should use these to market themselves (of course for a small fee).

  3. oneowner says:

    It’s a striking design, especially for a beach setting. And it’s subject matter for a wide variety of photography. The last photo works well in black and white and I suspect some of the others would as well. Worth the visit even if they didn’t have the fish and chips.

    • LensScaper says:

      I’ve never been to this place in the summer season – I would guess it is crowded out. When we went for a meal, out of season, those who were there were for the food and without children. Very good food too – although it is too long ago to recall whether I ate the Fish and chips. Thanks for your comment, Ken.

  4. John Linn says:

    It must have been an expensive structure to build with all those long welds, but then again I suppose it is sturdy too. I can see why you made the special trip… the photos are worth the effort.

    • LensScaper says:

      On the East beach Cafe website there are images of the fabrication of this building – much of it done off site. That in itself is a fascinating read. I must re-visit some time in the future. Thanks for commenting, John.

  5. Wow – that building is spectacular. Excellent work getting the shots. (I’m adding this location to my list of locations for my hypothetical trip to the UK!)

  6. Wonderful set of images Andy – the last one in the gallery is an absolute stunner 🙂

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Lisa. Although these images were taken in 2009 it’s only very recently that I did that B&W conversion. I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me earlier, but I think my skills at processing B&W conversions have advanced significantly in that time.

  7. poppytump says:

    I’d heard about this place Andy but never followed it up as it were . I can indeed see its appeal for a photo or two .
    As has been commented upon already your last image is terrific – great timing there !
    What smart beach huts too … very high standards in Littlehampton by the looks of it all 😉

    • LensScaper says:

      That last image was pure luck. A second later he had lifted off! If you’re ever in that part of the south coast it is well worth a visit – sadly we didn’t see a great deal else to catch the eye in Littlehampton, and no sign of a sandy beach at this end of the seafront, but this is a real gem. Many thanks for your remarks, Poppy.

  8. Phillip says:

    What a interesting looking place. I really like the beach huts too. You have captured both well.

  9. shoreacres says:

    When I first glimpsed your initial photo of the café, it looked remarkably like the huge transmissions (??) or whatever that are hauled up and down our local road on oversized trucks. The resemblance is remarkable. I really enjoyed all the photos, although, if I were forced into a choice, one of the last two would do it.

    I’m so fond of your beach huts. I’d never seen such a thing until about a year or so ago. The uniformity, the bright colors, the way they curve along the seafront — all of it seems to be from a slower, gentler time.

    • LensScaper says:

      Ah Yes – the olden golden days. My first holidays back in the early ’50s involved a beach hut and the smell of a kettle boiling on a methylated spirit stove. In popular resorts beach huts change hands for quite substantial sums of money. They are very much a part of the British seaside landscape. Thanks of writing, Linda.

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