Pony and Cole

Our project brief was to turn a decrepit office within a warehouse – into a relaxed, welcoming café, that celebrated the site – both the neighbourhood and the building; and could become a community hub.

The cafe sits at the front of a large site which also includes a design studio (ours!), a printmaking studio and a gallery

The fitout was considered in its entirety from spatial planning, through the design of all furniture pieces, right down to the coffee cup specification. An open kitchen was designed to provide theatre and transparency for the customers and to control staffing levels. The remainder of the cafe space needed to be as flexible as possible, to allow for various dining configurations. The banquette was designed in sections to allow for back-to-back booth configurations as well as large tables.


Great care was taken to ensure it didn’t feel like a new insertion into an old building. To achieve this the fabric of the building was celebrated and respected.  After steel beams were discovered above the old, suspended office ceiling – the design was modified to highlight them, with new acoustic plasterboard carefully fitted between each truss. Steelwork also features in the remainder of the warehouse spaces on site and has been highlighted to link all areas together.

The counter façade reflects the existing painted Masonite panels below the windows. Café walls were lime washed to create a soft, weathered finish, complimenting the existing concrete floors’ exposed history of chased channels and bolt fixings. These finishes are designed to age well and evolve, just as the building has.

Furniture was designed to evoke the era – but with a contemporary twist. Custom Chairs have the steel rods of 60s outdoor furniture – but with innovative fabric technology applied to the flexible backrest, and refined junctions for a minimal profile. Chairs also stack and are light for staff to maneuver. Tables where radiused like 60’s steel edged tables and accented with silkscreened lithograph images to reference 60s decoration accents in a contemporary way, as well as featuring the work of neighbouring printmakers. Use of handprinted art on the furniture and throughout the space highlighting that this space is part of a hub, not just a standalone cafe.

New finishes like bathroom tiles were specified in retro colours, but with colour combinations that added a contemporary edge – to ensure the result was never cliched.