I know personally, that whenever I think of a soup kitchen or homeless shelter, high end design does not come to mind. It was so refreshing to see non-profit organisation Food for Soul’s set up of Refettorio Felix Soup Kitchen in London. The space has been designed by the social conscience team over at Studioisle.
The soup kitchen is located within St Cuthbert’s Community Centre in the Royal Borough of Chelsea and Kensington, areas that have a high homeless population. This is where the ideals get really cool; the team takes surplus ingredients from nearby supermarkets and transforms them into restaurant quality meals, serving to the homeless and underprivileged.
Isle Crawford of Studioisle says of the space “making it beautiful, a universal pleasure that is often missing from social projects”. Refettorio Felix is a multifunctional space; both a dining hall and home for the community, featuring reading corners, private counselling rooms, a film screening room and a commercial kitchen.
The interior feels as it should; warm, inviting and comfortable. There is a continuous play on pastel greens, whites, warm greys and timbers. In a space this big, and with their demographic being people that do not have a home, the team focused on creating intimacy by dropping large white pendant lights down low, using natural plants and really comfortable lounges.
Refettorio Feliz offers dignity, comfort and a safe haven, but more than that, it offers a sense of community.