London-based Studio Tilt used 17th and 18th-century coffee houses as a reference for the design of this canal-side cafe and cultural venue (+ slideshow).
The venue is located in a new building that is part of a large scale development along London's Haggerston Basin, facing Regent's Canal.
"How can you fit a bar, cafe, restaurant, library, gallery, events space and private hire space into a relatively small floor plate? The answer is effective programming of events and clear synergies across spatial zones," Studio Tilt creative director Oliver Marlow told Dezeen.
"This is one of our specialities at Studio Tilt. It's exciting to see a restaurant turn into a bar, then an exhibition, then a venue."
Proud Archivist is Studio Tilt's first opportunity to have creative control over all aspects of the project. "As designers of the brand as well, the client wanted this to all come together in a cohesive cogent way," Marlow added.
To do this, the studio used specific materials to define various zones and balance privacy with openness.
Split over two levels, the Proud Archivist venue is flooded with light by double-height floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the canal towpath.
In the ground floor restaurant, black-stained wood on the floor is used to contrast the 6.5-metre-long bar in spruce ply, which is stained white. Larch ceiling fins are hung at a perpendicular angle to the reclaimed wooden floor.
While these surfaces are intended to reference the dark and enclosed interiors of Georgian coffee houses, bespoke plywood tables by the design studio are matched with Eames DSW dining chairs to introduce a contemporary look.
The large tables create areas for collaborative work, where patrons can share ideas.
"I like the story that the Enlightenment began in coffee houses," said Marlow. "Suddenly clean[ish!] water was available, people drank this new fangled drink called coffee and found it convivial for thought and conversation."
"They are the original co-working spaces," he continued. "We wanted to create a space that offered this atmosphere of creativity and conviviality, where you could believe great things were about to happen."
Anglepoise task lamps create intimate work spaces for day-time coffee drinkers, while copper-plated pendants hang over the bar and the mezzanine level where the restaurant continues.
A double-height library wall on the east side provides the cultural venue a constantly evolving backdrop of books, photography and exhibitions.
A black steel structure separates the bar and kitchen with the canal-side venue's mezzanine level and events space.
In contrast to the rustic materials of the restaurant and cafe, the events space is defined by black linoleum on the floor and intersected by a set of large white steel doors.
Tilt created an illuminated wall feature in the events space, which they claim is London's largest light box.
The wall of frosted acrylic measures 35 metres in length and is lit from behind by fluorescent tubes. The levels of lighting can be adjusted to suit the event.
Proud Archivist is currently showing Paper Cut: a show of over 25 paper-craft artists as part of a regular program of exhibitions.
Photography is by Jill Tate.