The second brief for our studio is creating our own social enterprise and cafe, something which can fill a gap in the market, create an interesting, fun and colourful space and benefit the people around us.
The Cafe idea I have centres around literacy and reading. The National Literacy Trust UK found that 1 in 6 individuals in the UK struggle to read and write, a skill which could impact their future opportunities. The concept of my cafe is to have a space inspired by books, where individuals can step out of the hectic world and settle down with a book and a hot drink. I want to have different workshops in my space to help people of all ages improve their reading and writing. I also want my space to have authors and poets come in to talk about their work and help to inspire more individuals to pick up a pen and put their ideas on a page.
As part of my research I thought would have a look at what kind of reading cafe’s already exist in London and the UK and what makes each of these spaces special.
Rays Jazz Cafe in Foyles Book Store, Charing Cross Road
Rays Jazz Cafe is a great little spot in London’s West End, with a laid back vibe its a great place to listen to some mellow melodies and read a good book.
The Barbican Conservatory, Moorgate
Whilst not a conventional library, the Barbican Conservatory is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of London. There are few more creative places to pass time at than the Barbican. The Cafe in the centre of the Conservatory is a great place to unwind, where you can enjoy your book surrounded by a tropical haven of over 2,000 species of plants and trees.
London Review Bookshop, Holborn
One of London’s best-loved book shops doubles up as social space, with plenty of literary events and debates. Located within a stone’s throw of the British Museum, it is crammed with books, thoughts and inspiration without seeming overly intellectual. And the cake shop – touted as “the modern answer to London’s long-lost literary coffee-houses”
The British Museum reading room, Bloomsbury
Built in 1857, this beautiful centrepiece of The British Museum has inspired many – including Alfred Hitchcock, who used it as one of his sets for 1929 thriller Blackmail. Now used as an exhibition space, you’re still likely to find a quiet corner to read in amid very regal surroundings.
Canada Water Library, Southwark
Located in the old Surrey Commercial Docks in Canada Water is is the Canada Water Library. The space is dynamic with a spiral staircase leading up to a bright, airy top floor filled with books (and a cafe below). “Libraries still hold these magic realms of invention, realms of ideas,” says architect Piers Gough. Definitely worth stopping by with a good book in hand.