When I was living in London, Formica cafes where still quite common, above all in the more run down areas; they generally opened until two o’clock in the afternoon and they used to serve classic English breakfasts or simple sandwiches (ham and cheese or similar), obviously accompanied by steaming cups of tea. When they first opened in the Fifties, these cafes introduced a new concept of catering: a cheap, faster, simpler alternative to restaurants yet not as impersonal and quick as fast-food outlets. They were new and they wanted to look new. It isn’t surprising that Formica, a relatively new affordable material, easy to clean and heat-resistant, was the preferred choice for the furniture.
These places have always trigged a sensation of cosiness and familiarity in me and when I found out that Child Studio had opened a new place in Kings Cross in London called Humble Pizza, but often referred to as the Formica Cafè, I was quite curious to see the photos.
Humble Pizza is an explosion of pinkness but what you notice the most is its Fifties feel. All that pale pink screams Fifties inspiration, it’s timeless. Pink formica covers the walls, tables, counter fronts and a subtle cherry wood framing divides the formica panels.
A mosaic tiled floor and some classic mid-century lights by European designers Poul Henningsen, Jacques Biny and Luigi Massoni complete the evocative vibrant look.
Olive green painted portions add interest and define spaces.
The two creative minds behind Child Studio, Chieh Huang and Alexey Kostikov(see photo below), have looked back at the history of the street where Humble Pizza is, an area buzzing with alternative creativity in the Seventies and Eighties, inextricably linked to Vivienne Westwood’s punk genius.
Evidently they wanted to create a place where people could hang out, read, exchange information and feel energized by the food and the environment.
In my opinion, they haven’t just succeeded in that but also in designing an enveloping calming place.
It looks like they wanted to create a place where people could hang out, read, exchange information and feel energized by the food and the environment.
In my opinion, they haven’t just succeeded in that but also in designing an enveloping calming place and a place that you will want to photograph.
Photographs courtesy of Child Studio.