MATA Architects designed Jewish deli inspired by classic old workers cafe of London
Monty’s Deli on Hoxton Street is a first permanent venue of this Jewish Deli and one of the only places in Britain to make their own salt beef and pastrami. The interior design was completed by London-based studio MATA Architects.
“Whilst we wanted to create a space inspired by the classic workers cafe we were wary of creating a facsimile copy. The challenge was to deliver a place that had the feel and elements of the look but not too close a resemblance. This had to be a contemporary interpretation of an old classic. In transforming the space we set out to expose and celebrate the existing building fabric. The challenge was that much of the historic fabric had been covered over during many years of more recent occupation. The last tenant, a bakery, had been in occupation for over 40 years, during which time they boarded and plastered over walls, installed vinyl over original floors. During our initial site visits we glimpsed promising fragments of historic (Victorian era) building fabric; plastered over original wall tiles, exposed porcelain floor tiles and other partially hidden delights. All these elements, integrated into the design, had the potential to add layers and enrich. To create the look and, more importantly, the feel of the classic London workers cafe without it becoming a replica we studied the typology. We visited some of the few remaining venues. Then we extracted some of the essentials; booth seating proportions (often quite tight and cosy), wall cladding – and we reinterpreted these. To create a balance between old/ existing building fabric and new insertions we did two things: In early design stages we carried out a number of site investigations exposing small areas of walls, ceiling and floor to establish what is there that we can work with. We carried out research into the history of the building and discovered that it was first occupied during the Victorian era by a successful chain of butchers that, at their height, had circa 40 outlets. Many of their shops had similar designs with bespoke wall and floor tiles which we found covered at this venue. This learning, coupled with our site investigations, helped us paint a clearer picture of what the space would look like once stripped out. Secondly, our design of the space was guided by a simple rule; our architectural intervention in the space would be predominantly limited to a ribbon wrapping around the perimeter. The ribbon begins at roughly 35cm above finished floor level, coinciding with the underside of booth seating, and stops at 115cm above finished floor level, coinciding with the top of the booth/ datum cladding and bar. Everything above and below these levels is historic fabric. The exposed historic building fabric tells the story of this space over time and It’s juxtaposition with contemporary elements help make the end product warm, soulful and distinct,” said MATA Architects