This sensitive refurbishment of a medieval building brings classic and contemporary design together, repurposing an existing building for a new lease of life.



  • Client: Manns of Cranleigh
  • Architect: vPPR Architect
  • Main contractor: Mountfield Building Group Ltd
  • Project Manager: Founded Studio
  • Photography © Ioana Marinescu

vPPR converts 130-year-old store into cafe with scalloped details

Emma Tucker, Dezeen


The opening of Café M inside the 150-year-old department store Manns of Cranleigh in Surrey represents vPPR Architect’s first foray into the hospitality sector. This project demonstrates the practice’s ability to combine contemporary design with a sensitive remodelling of our built heritage. New connections have been made between the cafe, the store and the street, enhancing the presence of the shop fronts in public life and becoming the only such accessible space in Cranleigh. vPPR Architects have designed both the front and back of house, allowing the building to function better in everyday life.

The interior is encased in a continuous one-metre-high timber wall paneling that encloses customers and unites what was previously a series of ad hoc spaces. Its distinctive ribbed profile is derived from the store’s original exterior tile cladding, with concealed lighting around its upper edge bringing spaces to life which were once dark and unforgiving. By keeping the design classic and modern, the stunning historic timber structure is fully revealed. A bespoke Corian bar displays food and repeats the ribbed designs of the wall paneling at a different scale, featuring a custom-made brass light overheard. Multiple variations of seating are used to accommodate different public requirements across the course of the day, with white marbles tables resting on richly textured grey terrazzo floors.

As part of the launch Café M hosted a pop up dinner by Etch, organised by MasterChef The Professionals 2013 winner Steven Edwards.

Ground Floor Plan