Cornerstone Cafe by
Paul Crofts Studio


Chevron motifs taken from military uniforms are interspersed around this cafe at London's Royal Arsenal Riverside by Paul Crofts Studio (+ slideshow).

Cornerstone Cafe by Paul Crofts Studio

London-based Paul Crofts Studio referenced the area's history of producing arsenal when designing the Cornerstone Cafe in part of a former munitions store.

Cornerstone Cafe by Paul Crofts Studio

"The warehouse building was part of a larger complex of munitions factories supplying all the armed forces during the First World War," Paul Crofts told Dezeen.

Cornerstone Cafe by Paul Crofts Studio

Created by tessellating wood and white solid surface tiles, the chevron patterns that cover one wall and the counter front are based on the V-shaped badges used on army and navy uniforms to indicate rank or length of service.

Cornerstone Cafe by Paul Crofts Studio

"The inspiration for the chevron pattern was derived from the insignia on military uniforms and the repetition of the pattern was inspired by archive photos showing the endless stacks of the munition shells," said Crofts.

Cornerstone Cafe by Paul Crofts Studio

The studio stripped back the interior to the original brick and render wall finishes and installed wooden seating booths with green upholstery along one side.

Cornerstone Cafe by Paul Crofts Studio

In the centre of the cafe, oak tables with white powder-coated metal legs are printed with grey and white arrows that alternate with the wood.

Cornerstone Cafe by Paul Crofts Studio

Various shapes and sizes of Paul Crofts' Nonla pendant lights are suspended from the ceiling, positioned between the white truss beams.

Cornerstone Cafe by Paul Crofts Studio

Blackboard menus are mounted on the walls between strips of hot-rolled steel above oak display boxes for storing crockery and dry snacks.

Cornerstone Cafe by Paul Crofts Studio

Paul Crofts Studio also recently completed a bakery with a graphic based on a magpie nest etched into the wooden counter.

Cornerstone Cafe by Paul Crofts Studio

The most popular cafes we've published lately include a Bucharest coffee shop with 276 cups suspended from the ceiling and a waterside bistro in Vietnam with a roof supported by conical bamboo columns.

Photography is by Chris Tubbs.

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Paul Crofts Studio sent us the project description below:

The cafe can be found in the industrial setting of the former factories and warehouses of Royal Arsenal Riverside, an area famed since the seventeenth century for producing munitions for the Royal Navy and armed forces. The building has been stripped back to a shell, while retaining character and authenticity.

Paul Crofts Studio’s scheme for the cafe leaves original features intact and exposed, while inserting new elements to contrast with the existing fabric of the building.

Cornerstone Cafe by Paul Crofts Studio

A chevron motif derived from the insignia on military uniforms can be found throughout the scheme, seen on the table tops, oak display boxes, and the counter and display wall. Banquettes upholstered in a military green create a delineation between old and new, running in a continuous line from the window reveals to the waiter station by the main door.

Bespoke solid oak tables, featuring the chevron motif screen-printed in a mixture of grey and white, have metal powder coated legs inspired by an industrial workbench. The Nonla lights by Paul Crofts – a contemporary interpretation of a traditional utility light fitting – appears in various sizes, while unfinished hot-rolled steel is used to line the kitchen walls and for the wall-mounted menus.

Cornerstone Cafe by Paul Crofts Studio

The scheme's focal point is provided by the service counter and display wall, the design of which provides a deliberately new intervention to contrast with the rough surfaces of the existing interior. Created from a combination of solid wood and CNC-routed HI-MACS solid surface material in pure white, the chevron motif is inset in an irregular pattern to take the design from wood on one side, to white on the other. Display shelves are edged with a brass trim.

The industrial look is leavened by the use of clean white and warm timber, with homely café chairs by Hay and chalk boards behind the counter adding to the relaxed atmosphere.

  • Stev

    Does anyone know what kind of chair this is? thanks!

    • deena

      It’s from the Danish brand Hay, J77 Chair.

  • Wow this cafe looks really nice! :)
    Could anyone tell me what kind of lamps these are? I really like them! :)

    • Studio

      The lights are called Nonla and are produced by Paul Crofts Studio