London’s queer community has a new creative haunt: Corner is a cafe and gallery owned and run by architect Tarek Merlin and Mark Osman-Barter in New Cross.
Reports from 2021 revealed that the capital had lost 60% of its LGBTQ+ spaces in the previous decade – a figure that is expected to increase following the pandemic. Corner steps firmly into this void, offering respite from the hustle and bustle of London life and serving locally sourced coffee, music, art and food.
“We are passionate about equality, diversity and inclusion, and we wanted that to be reflected in our approach and the way we present ourselves to the community, an open space for everyone,” say Tarek and Mark. They chose to add the letters LGBTQ+ to the windows as a proud statement about inclusivity as you enter.
Merlin enlisted his architecture studio, Feix&Merlin, to design the tranquil interiors in a palette of complementary greens: a light sage and a darker mallard, accented by a coral pink. The plethora of marble pendants add an elevated edge – they’re handcrafted in Italy by local artisans and use scrap scraps.
Arches and mirrors play with perspective, drawing the eye to the back of the space, where a pink staircase leads to the basement art gallery below.
“Our first exhibition is a sound and light installation by the Lelliott brothers of Increments Studio,” explains Tarek. “He explores how architecture can be defined, even created, by light, and how sound can affect our perception of space.”
117 New Cross Rd, London SE14 5DJ