Tinderbox - Islington

London N1

Tinderbox is a 200 sq.m espresso coffee bar on two levels situated within the N1 Centre in Islington and replaces the old Tinderbox on Upper Street.

At ground floor level is a takeaway kiosk while at first floor is the main coffee shop.

The building works involved the complete fit-out of a 3.6m high ‘shell & core’ space that was originally intended as a crche for the N1 Centre.

Linking the kiosk to the main level is a staircase that was transformed from a dark and claustrophobic escape stairs by removing walls, cladding the walls with stained timber strips and new lighting.

One of the main concepts was to create a wide range of varying seating experiences to suit different uses – whether this be low headroom booths, a long banquette, a long communal table, raised mezzanine seating for laptop users, counter seating, raised ‘stepped seating’ and terrace seating!

Many of the light fittings were bespoke designed such as the ‘coffee cup’ shades attached to the long ceiling raft. Also the 'scattered' lampshades over the communal long table which become framed by the new plate glass window to Upper Street when viewed externally.

I have worked with JCA on a number of different projects and have always been very impressed by them.

They always took the time to understand what I was trying to achieve and on each occasion provided me with the best solution and delivered it on time and within budget.

Carlo Ventisei, Tinderbox


• Restaurant & Bar Design Awards 2010 - Finalist



• Best of Coffee Shop Design, Published by Braun 2010