Memorable might as well be their middle name: Child Studio uses every hospitality and retail project as an opportunity to take you on a journey of cinematic proportions.
March 7th, 2022
Child Studio first came to the attention of many people via their fit-out for a little pink eatery in London’s Chelsea. The endearingly named Humble Pizza boasts an Instagram-worthy interior thanks to a bold application of pale pink Formica. While the design pays homage to the classic London cafés that first appeared in the city’s West End during the 1950s, its elegant minimalism is utterly contemporary.
With this project, Child Studio co-founders Alexy Kos and Che Huang, revealed themselves as masterful spatial curators, with an inherent understanding of materiality, colour and form.
The two designers were both new to London – Kos from Russia and Huang from Taiwan – when they first met and began collaborating. They established Child Studio in Shoreditch in 2017 as a multi-disciplinary practice that encompasses interior and object design, as well as art direction and photography.
Their hospitality and retail interiors, in particular, are compelling snapshots into their adopted hometown.
As Kos explains, “The central theme in our work is a deep interest in the Modernist heritage of London, and an ambition to create distinctive and relevant work rooted in local history.”
Their methodology is underscored by extensive research and a desire to celebrate London as an epicentre of creativity, which is explicit in their interior designs’ well-considered architectural and cultural references.
Kos and Huang are also great storytellers who imbue all they do with a sense of nostalgia motivated by an appreciation for context and place.
Humble Pizza certainly calls to mind a specific moment in time… and all the positive associations that go with that. And their most recent fit-out for Japanese sushi restaurant Maido does the same.
Located in St John’s Wood district in a disused late Modernist building and former post office, the new fit-out weaves in elements of the neighbourhood’s fabric through a large semi-circular glass block partition that divides the space in two.
“The inspiration for this feature came from the façade of the adjacent St John’s Wood Library, which is of the same era,” says Huang.
“Its street frontage is unassuming, but the library entrance is a beautiful combination of square glass blocks and dark timber framework.”
The rest of Maido’s scheme highlights the designers’ penchant for sophisticated colour palettes and rich materiality.
Cherry wood panelling with detailing inspired by Japanese handcrafting traditions clads the interior walls. This is offset by a custom suspended coffered ceiling finished in baby blue.
The ceiling’s strict geometry is in turn reiterated in the quarry tile flooring, further enhancing a Japanese design influence through a visual balance of simple patterning and fine lines and angles.
Another recent project, British spectacle maker Cubitts’ store in Soho appears like a scene straight out of Mad Men, such is the visual impact of the interior’s Modernist stylings.
From black and white chequered flooring and the faux-timber laminate (Formica is a firm Child Studio favourite) cladding the walls and partitions to the centrally positioned original 1961 Caori cocktail table designed by Vico Magistretti, this store is a step back in time to Soho’s post-war heyday.
The designers also reference the district’s once notorious adult cinemas and sex shops in the downstairs eye examination room, via neon signs, a saturated colour palette and deep red velvet curtain.
Kos and Huang’s goal is to create memorable experiences and they do this with a refined aesthetic that has a cinematic quality to it.
Regardless of influences or references, their interiors are always immersive and layered with narrative. And while good looks and a sense of cool pervade, it’s never to the detriment of function or comfort.
Their interiors give customers a lot to look at and engage with and represent what outstanding contemporary retail and hospitality design is all about.
Child Studio is a wildly influential design practice currently re-imaging London’s shopping and dining scenes and you can bet what they do next is well worth keeping an eye on.
Maido and Cubitts Photography
Felix Speller and Child Studio
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