Humble Pizza

Designed by: Child Studio
For client: Humble Pizza Ltd Floor area: 120.00 M² Year of completion: 2019
Submitted for: Restaurant of the Year

Child 10
© Child Studio (Chieh Huang & Alexey Kostikov)

The project aims to reimagine the classic workmen's 'Formica cafes' of London. Nick-named 'greasy spoons' they are not considered worthy of attention, but the designers wanted to look at them afresh, admiring their charming, melancholic beauty.

About the Project

‘Humble Pizza’ is a restaurant located on King’s Road, the neighbourhood synonymous with British fashion, music and pop culture movements of the 20th Century from mods and hippies to punks and New Romantics. The designers drew from these cultural references when creating the interior.

The inspiration for the design came from the staple of the British vernacular postwar architecture - the ‘Formica caffs’, which first appeared in London’s West End in the 1950s. Typically established by Italian immigrant families, those coffee bars served simple meals in the pared-back modernist settings featuring laminate surfaces, pastel colours and cosy seating nooks and crannies. This was the beginning of the ‘cafe culture’ in London with King’s Road at the epicentre, attracting writers, musicians, photographers and bohemian characters of all styles.

The interior is clad in wall-to-wall pink Formica, which continues across counter fronts and tables tops. The rhythmic pattern is highlighted with cherry wood. The designers worked with Formica factory, exploring their archives to recreate the original ‘linen’ pattern design popular in the 1950s. Other subtle nods to the past include mosaic flooring, cherry wood shelving and neon signage. The space is accessorised with the classic mid-century lighting pieces by Poul Henningsen, Jacques Biny and Luigi Massoni. The resulting interior is an immersive environment presenting a new chapter in the history of this iconic neighbourhood.

What’s unique about it

Child Studio’s 'Humble Pizza' restaurant project is characterised by a strong narrative, rooted in the local context and based on informed visual research. The design team captured the spirit of the neighbourhood, working with definitive cultural references to tell a story which is unique to London’s Chelsea and the legendary King’s road.

This restaurant project celebrates an overlooked chapter in the architectural heritage of London - the charming family-run ‘Formica caffs’ also know as ‘greasy spoon cafes’, which are currently disappearing from the city’s urban fabric. The designers created a contemporary and relevant interpretation of this classic typology that engages with the local neighbourhood and its community. The interior features refined and crafted details, finding playful and surprising use of ordinary materials, while the bespoke furniture elements present clever design solutions, utilising the idiosyncratic character of the Victorian-era facade and architectural shell.

The studio undertook a holistic approach to storytelling, encompassing the spatial and furniture design, as well as the art direction and project photography, which was styled and produced by the designers.

Child 5
© Child Studio (Chieh Huang & Alexey Kostikov)

This project celebrates an overlooked chapter in the architectural heritage of London, whilst creating a contemporary and welcoming space that became a part of the local neighbourhood and its community.

Child 2
© Child Studio (Chieh Huang & Alexey Kostikov)

Thoughtful details, such as the brass lettering embedded in the entrance area, add character to this London restaurant.

Child 29
© Child Studio (Chieh Huang & Alexey Kostikov)

‘We have long been attracted to the cinematic quality of London’s ‘Formica cafes’, the duality of Modernist design language and the playful, almost cartoonish spirit. This project aims to create a contemporary version of this unique typology’ – explained

Child 15 Resized
© Child Studio (Chieh Huang & Alexey Kostikov)

'King's Road, where the restaurant is located, is such an iconic place for the British pop culture - some of the most important fashion movements had originated here. If the walls could speak, they would tell stories about Vivienne Westwood setting up her

Child 12
© Child Studio (Chieh Huang & Alexey Kostikov)

The restaurant is accessorised with the classic mid-century lighting pieces by European designers Poul Henningsen, Jacques Biny and Luigi Massoni.

Child 14
© Child Studio (Chieh Huang & Alexey Kostikov)

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.

Child 4
© Child Studio (Chieh Huang & Alexey Kostikov)

The seating layout forms a series of cosy nooks an crannies, creating a welcoming environment for socialising and people-watching.

Child 9
© Child Studio (Chieh Huang & Alexey Kostikov)

Child Studio approached Formica factory in the North East of England to recreate the ‘linen’ pattern, which was popular throughout the 50s and 60s, but is no longer in production. It was a meticulous process, but the resulting material is completely uniqu

Child 1
© Child Studio (Chieh Huang & Alexey Kostikov)

The restaurant sits behind a period timber shopfront. The facade was stripped back from the later additions to reveal the original features, including the ornate cast-iron grilles.

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Credits:
Child Studio

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