Food for Thought
As part of the New Windows on Willesden Green project, where designers are paired with local shops in an attempt to help revive the area, Robin Howie designed a series of Thinker Stools for the London suburb's Food for Thought cafe...
Making reference to the cafe's name – and to Rodin's sculpture The Thinker – Howie selected a series of quotes to be laser-etched (by Nirvana CPH) onto the Tom Dixon-designed stools, featuring pearls of wisdom from the Dalai Lama, Albert Einstein and Miss Piggy.
Howie was commissioned for The Architecture Foundation as part of the Willesden Windows initiative which has brought 25 shopkeeper/designer partnerships to the Willesden Green area in Brent, London. The project is funded by the Mayor of London's Outer London Fund and Brent Council.
"The Architecture Foundation paired me with a cafe called Food for Thought to see what could be done with a small budget," says Howie.
"I worked to create a more engaging window display and more flexible seating plan for the cafe. Taking inspiration from their name I designed the bespoke Thinker Stools and a window display that acts as a community engagement board featuring revolving questions each month that customers can ponder over and share their responses to as part of the display.
"The nice surprise for me was how receptive and open Mauro and Lu from Food for Thought were to everything," he says. "When I first presented to them it seemed to remind them of all the things they wanted to do with the cafe when starting out, which was really lovely to see."
"The cafe has this nice quiet environment where you can get a bit lost in your thoughts," says Howie. "I thought it would be great to accentuate this and provide a bit of a catalyst. The quotes are a mix, sourced by myself, Mauro and Lu."
Mauro, one of the Food for Thought cafe's owners, adopts the Rodin position
Lovely work, Robin.
I love this - there are many reasons why it makes my engagement with FOOD FOR THOUGHT become more than a wi ndow - not least is to feel part of something.
The community engagement board and Thinker stools are great ideas and create for a contemplative environment. Just taking it further, how about an electronic display instead of whiteboard, which feeds directly into the blog or twitter account of the Cafe?
There are cool ideas, and cooler ideas. This is way cool. You gave me a great idea for my beloved small community in Virginia USA, so many thanks. Cheers from your progeny across the pond.
I'm in love :) This gets me excited about what I do. An inspiring treat, thank you for sharing.
Great work and a great client for going with it too.
Brilliant initiative! Can the Mayor bring it to St. Helen's parade of shops in W10 next please. Or perhaps we. Could get Robin Howie in to fix it :) love it!
bloody ACE. love a good quote i do
Great work Robin!
Brilliant Miss Piggy quote!
'Never eat more than you can lift'
I shall live by it always.
What a creative idea! Great quotes too!
Great idea Robin,
This is lovely. Reminds me of the stools in the Nobel Cafe in Stockholm I saw years ago (I think it was Nobel Cafe and it may have been a museum cafe.) where you have to turn the stools upside down to find secret message carved underneath
Fantastic work. Just goes to show that when a bit of love and craft applied to an idea can create something rather spectacular.
What a creative idea! Great quotes too!
Gem of an idea very well done and thanks for sharing,
nice concept .. do you have a website ?
This work is ingenious: the stools have a beautiful design, the citations are very sophisticated, and technically this type of laser engraving has a very low cost of implementation .. I hope that many locals use this same idea.
I was just in Willesden Green to see the project pilot shops, and I missed this! Just my luck :)
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