Child Studio (Che Huang and Alexy Kos) took inspiration from London’s mid-century Formica cafes when designing the new Humble Pizza restaurant. The plant-based restaurant, located in the iconic King’s Road, is clad in pink Formica resulting in an immersive and cinematic environment.
The Formica cafes started appearing in London’s West End in the 50s and are the staple of British mid-century design. These workmen’s cafes served simple snacks and drinks and typically featured a Modernist design with pastel-colored surfaces made from laminated composite material.
These cafes also market the beginning of the ‘cafe culture’ in London turning King’s Road, its epicenter, into the synonymous of the alternative British fashion, music and pop culture of the 20th Century. The London-based studio drew from these cultural references “We wanted ’Humble’ to feel as an organic part of this unique neighborhood – slightly nostalgic, yet relevant and fashion-conscious” said the studio
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
The restaurant is clad in wall-to-wall candy pink Formica, which continues along counter fronts and across tables tops. The cherry wood framing each laminate panel creates a rhythmic pattern.
To use the material in an authentic way and recreate a ‘linen’-like mid-century pattern, the designers worked closely with the Formica factory on a meticulous process of sampling and prototyping. The choice of the candy pink, gives the Formica a more contemporary and appealing look.
Mosaic tiled flooring, neon signage and mid-century lighting, by European designers Poul Henningsen, Jacque Biny, and Luigi Massoni, add another reference of the past.
We like injecting humor and an element of surprise into our projects – Formica is perceived as a modest, ordinary material, but here we use it in a Chelsea restaurant context, elevating it into something quite elegant and chic
Pink also extends to the facade of the restaurant, which has been restored to reveal the original timber paneling and ironwork.