leading light

i’ve shared my love of design studio nina+co’s stunning interior and ceramic works before, so was delighted when she got in touch this week to alert me to her latest venture: a new social enterprise café, luminary bakery, on the quiet back streets of london’s stoke newington, in collaboration with local community charity, kahaila women’s projects. with the kitchen already operating successfully as a wholesale bakery supplying many london cafes and businesses, the cafe has now opened it’s doors to the public, with a view to being open 7 days a week from late august 2017.

luminary grew from kahaila women’s projects as an innovative response to the need for support for women with social and economic disadvantages. through baking, women are taken on a journey to employability and entrepreneurship, equipping them with transferrable skills to use in the working world. aiming to break generational cycles of abuse, prostitution, criminal activity and poverty, luminary offer courses, work experience and paid employment within the bakery, empowering women to build their career and a brighter future.

nina has designed the café to offer to be a home away from home for the bakers and customers alike, with the kitchen and cafe evoking a stylish family home pieced together from objects old and new, and the spacious setting has been conceived with accessibility and young families in mind, with flexible furniture enabling the space to adapt to workshops and other events, in a similar manner to the design of her previous social enterprise café venture, dean street café.

working to an exceptionally modest budget nina+co have carefully curated a selection of second hand furniture, donated items and thrifty details, including adapting vintage madeleine baking tins to make delicate bespoke wall lights and old jelly moulds to make mini pendant lights – clever, huh?

as testament to the power of the project, a wonderful array of british manufacturers also showed their generosity. in particular; iconic english furniture manufacturer ercol who generously donated the handmade, black lacquered loveseats and stacking chairs, and stone experts diespeker & co, who supplied stunning counter tops, cut from their premium terrazzo that incorporates waste products from the marble industry that would otherwise be discarded. there were also donations from uk glassware manufacturers lsa international, and british fabric weavers camira, who donated the fabric selected for the deep, comfy bench seating.

hands up who wants to join me for coffee and cake here next time i’m in town..

luminary bakery, 71-73 allen road, stoke newington, hackney, n16

all photography © anna stathaki 


  1. cate

    12 July

    Definitely have to make a visit here! Love that it’s not only beautiful but that it’s helping empower women. Love the madeleine lights!

  2. Carole

    12 July

    Love, love, love it!!! Gorgeous design, social enterprise, cake…and the generosity of the companies who donated all the beautiful pieces! What a great project! Coffee and cake next time you’re in town! :-) xo

  3. What a fantastic idea, often these things (social projects) seem so complex. Until someone just does it making it look so simple.

  4. Nina is so damn talented! Love this design and I’m sure to visit this place.

  5. Carole King

    12 July

    Me! It looks very welcoming. Love that fabric skirt round the counter! x

  6. karen jones

    12 July

    What a wonderful project. I love the ethos behind this beautiful bakery x

  7. Oh what an amazing project – not just beautiful but also making such a difference. What a powerhouse Nina is! Love how generous so many British manufacturers were as well. Wonderful xxx

  8. Offrs

    16 July

    A great list with some of my favourites there too. Fantastic.

  9. Geraldine

    21 July

    Sounds amazing. Will have to check this place out.

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