Sodexo Prestige has picked up a £4.5m catering and events contract with Siemens at the newly built Crystal building in London's Royal Victoria Docks.
The new deal will see Sodexo Prestige deliver all public, workplace and event catering at the centre, which will open on Saturday (29 September) following a multimillion-pound investment.
The Crystal will act as a global think tank where engineers and city experts will collaborate on projects that drive sustainable urban innovation, while the building itself has been developed to be one of the world's most sustainable.
Sodexo Prestige will operate the 72-seat Crystal Café, overlooking Royal Victoria Dock. Its structure and layout was delivered by Wilkinson Eyre, which was also responsible for the overall building and the interior was designed by Pringle Brandon.
The functional and customer-facing elements of the café were conceived by restaurant and café design specialist James Hodges, who aimed to maximise the café's environmental friendliness.
He said: "It's an incredibly forward-looking building and the café had to be warm and welcoming while maintaining that modern feel. One of the areas of concern was how to deal with the less than aesthetic trolley trays.
"We decided to create a waste and recycling station where there would be three specific areas for food waste, packaging waste and liquid waste. To soften the look of this area and reinforce the sustainable message we plan to surround the station with a living wall of plants and herbs, some of which are to be used in the food served in the café.
"At every stage we've looked at provenance, processes and transport miles to use the most environmentally friendly materials possible and I am delighted with the final look."
The café will serve home-made Ottolenghi-inspired salads sourced from a community garden located next to the building, as well as a bistro offering sandwiches, freshly baked cakes made on site and cooked food.
The coffee will be Grand Cru, a Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance and Soil Association certified premium coffee while the tea will be from the Rare Tea Company.
James Greetham, managing director for Sodexo Prestige in London, said: "We have been appointed as a result of our innovative ideas which combine both the highest standards in service and quality with a determination to source and prepare food in the most sustainable manner possible.
"This approach reflects the Siemens brand and the vision of the building itself and was fundamental to Sodexo Prestige being awarded the contract."
An all-electric building, the Crystal uses solar power and ground-source heat pumps to generate its own energy, meaning that no fossil fuels are burned in the building. The building also incorporates rainwater harvesting, black-water treatment, solar water heating and an intelligent building management system.
By Janie Manzoori-Stamford
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