To celebrate the 100th Birthday, the Conran Shop, which is based at Michelin House, will be holding a range of events and celebrations throughout the year from 17 January.
For starters (no pun intended), the shop will be the first retailer to sell the Michelin Guide for a 24 hour period immediately after the winners are announced. The first 50 customers will receive a limited edition Michelin replica and poster with every copy of the guide.
In addition, an exact replica of the building has been created in the shop windows using original petrol pumps, vans, cars and of course, tyres.
With no better time to add Michelin House to your list of London must-dos, here are 10 facts about the one of the cities most iconic building:
1. Michelin House was commissioned by the Michelin Tyre Company as their first permanent British headquarters, in Chelsea in the early twentieth century.
2. Back then the pneumatic tyre was a precious and revered item. Each tyre was lovingly wrapped in white silk paper before being stacked carefully in the factory to ensure perfect condition.
3. It was not designed by an architect but by one of Michelin’s employees – Francois Espinasse who had not designed a building before.
4. It opened in 1911 and Michelin remained there until 1985
5. In June 1985, the building was bought by Sir Terence Conran and the late Lord Paul Hamlyn who began a programme of extensive restoration to turn the building into a restaurant, shop, and office space. The pair had shared a love of the building for many years
6. Both the Oyster Bar and the restaurant refer directly to the building’s association with tyres and, in particular, Monsieur Bibendum—the Michelin Man
7. Bibendum restaurant is owned by Sir Terence Conran, Simon Hopkinson and Michael Hamlyn.
8. One of the reasons Michelin set up the Michelin food guides was to encourage people to drive to restaurants (and use up rubber on their tyres!).
9. Nunc est Bibendum means ‘Now is the time for a drink’.
10 Michelin House was built at the end of the Art Nouveau period but Michelin House is very much like an Art Deco building, popular in the 1930’s. It was a building 20 years before its time.
For more information see www.conranshop.co.uk