A visit to....
Dean Street Cafe with We Are Function & Form
A few months ago I was lucky enough to be invited back by the fabulous Function + Form Team for their 3rd hugely successful event, which was held this time at The Dean Street Cafe in Soho, open at weekends to the general public. The cafe is a new venture run by Centrepoint's staff and trainees, with venue manager and chef Dean Masters at the helm. It gives the team the opportunity to learn an NVQ in hospitality, as well as barista skills offered by their coffee partner Kimbo, and the chance to work in a unique and inspiring environment.
Set in a former church space designed by Christopher Wren in 1686, the space has been transformed by multi disciplinary artist Nina Woodcroft. Nina was on hand at breakfast to enlighten us on her background and thinking behind her unique, low cost/space saving design at the cafe. By combining storage hidden behind behind walls that are both decorative and functional, and using low cost materials and ingenious space planning for seating in the window alcoves, Nina has created a multi-use space. At weekends, the staff can welcome members of the public into the cafe, whilst during the week, John Raynham, head of enterprise at Centrepoint, the charity uses the space to train disadvantaged young people, providing them with new skills to help move on with their lives.
Nina's tight brief certainly resulted in a completely individual and creative design where she used sustainable birch plywood throughout, including the very clever built-in window seating in the image below. The design, which resulted from an immoveable structural support, cleverly raises the seating area to the higher-than-average window height, providing a street view and the chance for passers by to see the cafe space. The upholstered seat cushions were made by local company The Hackney Draper and on the walls, pegboard allows display shelves to be incorporated where and when needed-so simple and so effective.
To enable the space to be opened up, flatpack tables and benches fold neatly away into the concealed wall cupboards. The lighting is bespoke and chairs bought second hand.
This was the third event from Function & Form and, as always, a wonderful way to discover something new and catch up with a fabulously talented group of bloggers. We were treated to delicious breakfast treats from The Luminary Bakery and freshly squeezed juices from The East London Juice Co. Huge thanks to Tiff and Annie for discovering The cafe venture and sharing with us all.