South London’s Corner cafe is a creative LGBTQ+ space

A conscious, calm spot designed by Feix&Merlin

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 over the previous decade – a figure 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 this to be reflected in our approach and the way we present ourselves to the community, a space open to everyone,’ states Tarek and Mark. They chose to add the LGBTQ+ letters to the windows as a proud statement about inclusivity as you enter.

Merlin called upon his architectural studio, Feix&Merlin, to design the tranquil interiors in a palette of complementing greens: a light sage and a darker mallard, accented by a coral pink. The plethora of marble pendants adds an elevated edge – they’re handmade in Italy by local artisans and utilise offcuts from waste products.

Photography: David Christian Photography

Arches and mirrors play with perspective, drawing the eye to the back of the space, where a set of pink stairs leads to the basement art gallery below.

TIATIA, STILL by Increments. Photography: Graham Joy

‘Our first exhibition is a light and sound installation by the Lelliott brothers from Increments Studio,’ explains Tarek. ‘It explores how architecture can be defined, or created even, by light, and how sound can affect our perception of space.’

117 New Cross Rd, London SE14 5DJ

TIATIA, STILL by Increments. Photography: Graham Joy Photography
Photography: David Christian Photography

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