This New Chelsea Restaurant Has Us Tickled Pink
Tasked with creating a nostalgic yet relevant interior for a vegan pizza restaurant in West London, Child Studio responded with wipe-clean materials in a familiar rose-tinted hue
Located on King’s Road in Chelsea, Humble serves entirely plant-based pizza –– and although the vegan Margherita is good, the setting is the real feast here. This is the bold hospitality debut of London-based design firm Child Studio, and it’s clad wall-to-wall in pink Formica.
The use of candy-coloured laminate was inspired by post-war greasy spoon cafes and their easy-to-clean surfaces, and then cleverly elevated for a chic Chelsea crowd. The Formica counter front, wall panels and tabletops are a bespoke shade of ‘Millennial Pink’ and framed in cherry wood.
In the context of a fast-food restaurant, Formica is an incredibly practical choice: it’s wipe-clean, stain-resistant and long-lasting. Child Studio founders Alexey Kostikov and Chieh Huang worked closely with the Formica factory in North East England to reimagine an archived mid-century design that resembles linen. The subsequent process of sampling and prototyping resulted in a new Formica surface design and colourway that’s unique to Humble.
The same shade of sugary pink has been splashed across the timber frontage, crockery, upholstery and takeaway boxes. Even the newspapers fit the scheme (the salmon-coloured pages of the Financial Times hang from wooden hooks). In the open kitchen and behind the counter, forest green walls delineate the staff and customer areas, and plants and warm brass accents tie it all together. The lighting choices emphasise the modernist aesthetic, with iconic mid-century pieces from Luigi Massoni, Poul Henningsen and Jacques Biny.
The overall effect is nostalgic and theatrical. ‘We hope to create cinematic experiences and immersive environments that allow people to step into a different world and lose themselves for a moment,’ Huang says. Indeed, the space could have been plucked straight out of a Wes Anderson film.
The surrounding neighbourhood was also key to the designers’ approach. King’s Road is synonymous with alternative British fashion and music, providing myriad cultural references for the designers to draw upon: ‘Vivienne Westwood set up her first punk boutique down the road and Mick Jagger would hang out at the notorious Chelsea Drugstore,’ says Kostikov. ‘We wanted to capture some of that offbeat mood here.’
Altogether, Humble is a playful and practical space thanks to the faithful remaking of forward-thinking Formica.
Text / Hannah Frances Boulton
Images / Child Studio (interiors) and Steven Joyce (food)