A new plant-based cafe ‘Humble’ has recently opened on the iconic King’s Road, London, designed by Chieh Huang and Alexey Kostikov, the duo behind Child Studio.
The King’s Road neighbourhood, synonymous with alternative British fashion, music and pop culture movements of the 20th Century is the setting for this sweet little plant based cafe. Child Studio drew from these cultural references when creating the space.
The inspiration for the design came from the staple of British vernacular mid-century design – the ‘Formica cafes’, which first started appearing in London’s West End in the 50s. Typically established by Italian immigrant families, those coffee bars served simple snacks and drinks in pared-back modernist interiors of laminate surfaces and pastel tones.
This was the beginning of the ‘cafe culture’ in London with King’s Road at the epicentre, attracting musicians, photographers and bohemian characters of all styles.
The vibrant space is clad in wall-to-wall candy pink Formica, which continues along counter fronts and across tables tops. The rhythmic pattern is highlighted with cherry wood framing each laminate panel. Other subtle winks to the past include mosaic tiled flooring, cherry wood shelving and neon signage. The cafe is accessorised with the classic mid-century lighting pieces by European designers Poul Henningsen, Jacques Biny and Luigi Massoni.
‘Humble is a fantasy about King’s Road of the time when Vivienne Westwood was setting up her first boutique down the road, The Rolling Stones were hanging out at the notorious ‘Chelsea Drugstore’ and the street was buzzing with hippies, punks and fashion kids’ – commented Alexey Kostikov and Chieh Huang, the founders of Child Studio.
The cafe sits behind a characterful period timber shopfront. The facade was stripped back from the later additions to reveal the original features, including the ornate cast iron grilles. The long and narrow floor plan informed the layout with a long banquette seat flanking one side and a 5,5 metre display counter located along the opposite wall. An Illuminated cherry-clad lightbox frames the ‘open kitchen’ counter towards the rear of the space, creating a cinematic focal point whilst offering a glimpse behind the scenes and celebrating the food making process focused on plant-based ingredients.