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A Contemporary Interpretation of a Traditional Cafe at London


London-based Paul Crofts Studio referenced the area’s history of producing arsenal when designing the Cornerstone Cafe in part of a former munitions store. In the centre of the cafe, oak tables with white powder-coated metal legs are printed with grey and white arrows that alternate with the wood.


Paul Crofts Studio’s scheme for the cafe leaves original features intact and exposed, while inserting new elements to contrast with the existing fabric of the building. A chevron motif derived from the insignia on military uniforms can be found throughout the scheme, seen on the table tops, oak display boxes, and the counter and display wall. Banquettes upholstered in a military green create a delineation between old and new, running in a continuous line from the window reveals to the waiter station by the main door.


Bespoke solid oak tables, featuring the chevron motif screen-printed in a mixture of grey and white, have metal powder coated legs inspired by an industrial workbench. The Nonla lights by Paul Crofts – a contemporary interpretation of a traditional utility light fitting – appears in various sizes, while unfinished hot-rolled steel is used to line the kitchen walls and for the wall-mounted menus.



The scheme’s focal point is provided by the service counter and display wall, the design of which provides a deliberately new intervention to contrast with the rough surfaces of the existing interior. Created from a combination of solid wood and CNC-routed HI-MACS solid surface material in pure white, the chevron motif is inset in an irregular pattern to take the design from wood on one side, to white on the other. Display shelves are edged with a brass trim. The industrial look is leavened by the use of clean white and warm timber, with homely café chairs by Hay and chalk boards behind the counter adding to the relaxed atmosphere.