Stockton Bar

  • Benni Allan

An exciting new venue in the heart of south-east London, Stockton functions as a coffee shop by day and evolves into a cocktail bar at night. Designed in close collaboration with the client, Stockton is an elegant and flexible space with scope to develop over time – an example of the studio's responsive open-ended approach to making architecture. The site's original stone flooring which we decided to retain, inspired a raw and earthy colour palette. Instead of simple painted walls, a rough plasterwork was explored to line the walls; a technique that dates back to stucco applications developed in ancient India and China. The intention was to provide surfaces with a distinct textured quality in plaster that would transform with the changing light, becoming richer as the space darkens which in turn both changes the look and feel of the space. All the designed elements – including the furniture and shelving – are made from raw welded steel, simple enough that it could be fabricated by local metalworkers, creating an unassuming, elegant aesthetic. The terrazzo bar is complemented by the steel tables topped with white-washed plywood. Despite its bespoke furniture and fittings, Stockton is intended to serve as a blank canvas to offer architecture as a backdrop to be populated and activated by visitors who will ultimately give life to the space.