London celebrations

London’s architectural cafes celebrate coffee and community

Coffee and community converge in these architectural London cafes

A new wave of London’s architectural cafes combine contemporary design with a strong sense of community

Three architectural London cafes lead the way in the fusion of coffee and community. These spots offer much more than caffeine and cakes. Instead, they also combine art, workspace, and most importantly, a passion for empowering communities. Strongly design-driven, architect-owned or informed by a defining architectural vision, these cafés are transforming their genre, reaching far beyond the boundaries of hospitality and aiming for positive change. They provide safe spaces, support communities, challenge norms and strive to make their neighborhoods better places to live. Let’s go in for a hot infusion…

A new wave of London’s architectural cafes

Coffee Corner, New Cross

Photography: David M Christian

Corner café is an original idea of ​​Tarek Merlin, director and co-founder of the architecture studio Feix&Merlin, and his partner Mark. Designed as a café and creative space and located in the bustling New Cross area of ​​South London, Corner aims to be both your friendly neighborhood café and a welcoming hub for fostering culture and community. As an LGBTQ+-led business with an art space, plus the expected hot drink and cake offerings, this aims to be a space that makes a difference. “We are passionate about equality, diversity and inclusion, and we wanted this to be reflected in our approach and the way we present ourselves to the community – a welcoming space open to everyone,” say the two founders. “It was really important to us to visibly show our support for the LGBTQ+ community, so we chose to add the lettering LGBTQ+ to the windows, as a proud statement about inclusivity as you enter.”

Nutrition Centre, Hammersmith

Photography: Francisco Ibáñez Hantke

Nourish Hub is a slightly different proposition. Hoping to tackle food insecurity and support the local community, RCKa Architects and charity UKHarvest have teamed up to launch this space, as a new community kitchen, educational space and local business on the estate. Edward Woods at Hammersmith. Nourish Hub is centrally located, occupying the site of a former vacant supermarket on the high street. A series of community engagement projects played a key role in the design of the interior, which combines functionality, bright colors and strong graphic patterns that make the space stand out. “From the outset, the team sought to create learning opportunities and empower residents to take ownership of the space. This is UKHarvest’s first permanent space, but the design draws on years of experience in food education. Getting people through the door is the first challenge, so the Hub needed to feel open and welcoming to the whole community. We look forward to seeing local people uniting around this project, proving that food is truly one of the key things that unites us,” says RCKa Director Dieter Kleiner.

The Commune E2, Bethnal Green

Photography: Sam Harris

Another architect-owned business, The Common E2, located a stone’s throw from Bethnal Green station, is a sister company to local studio Common Ground Workshop. Functioning as a friendly and flexible mixed-use space, The Common E2 is a café, an art centre, an architecture studio and a coworking space all rolled into one. Originally envisioned by founder Mark Sciberras, this multifunctional venue meets several community needs, providing a popular place for gatherings and get-togethers. The space is constantly changing, offering a rotating show schedule, and is frequented by industry leaders in the region and beyond. “We want to put people at the heart of our design process and harness the possibilities that arise from confusing the status quo. We believe this open and inclusive public-private ecosystem challenges conventional norms of the siled workspace and encourages broad and meaningful participation,” says Sciberras.