London, UK

Corner at Tate Modern

Between the Thames & the Turbine Hall.

Holland Harvey has been working with Tate Eats on delivering their new cafe – a refurbishment of the original space designed by Herzog & de Meuron. Conceived as an extension of the public realm, Holland Harvey and Tate have linked two of London’s most iconic spaces, the Southbank and the Turbine Hall, via a new entrance onto Tate Modern’s lawns. The café is designed to celebrate accessibility and inclusivity – core themes of the organisation – to create an informal, playful setting that is welcoming for all, from morning until night.

At its core, this is a place for food and congregation. The scheme encompasses a bar, servery, retail and coffee counter as the focus of the café. These functions are accommodated within one continuous counter expressed in bold geometric forms that echo the monumental structures of the original power station. The animation and excitement of a busy, open kitchen offer an opportunity for Tate Eats to showcase its product and celebrate the provenance of its food.

The ambition has been to develop a timeless, modern design that respects its post-industrial context. Tactile, robust materials that exude warmth and softness have been chosen to complement the harder surfaces for which the building is known. Material choices explore themes of the circular economy, decarbonisation and social impact. For example, Tate’s original oak floors have been sanded back and refinished, and the existing Tate furniture was restored and reupholstered to minimise the project’s embodied carbon.

To reference the gallery’s Thameside location, salvaged shells have been mixed with waste coffee grounds from Tate’s roastery to create bespoke table tops by Spared.

Sheffield-based SME Kelham Island Concrete has developed a low-carbon concrete product that utilises a by-product of the local steel industry to create robust outdoor tables.

Social enterprise Goldfinger has recovered diseased ash from local councils to create beautifully crafted furniture: the organisation supports marginalised young people from its local community in the art of woodworking through an apprenticeship programme, as well as through its on-site community café. The coordinates of each felled tree have been laser etched into each piece to help tell the product’s story.

Holland Harvey has engaged with Tate’s curatorial team to coordinate a programme of temporary and permanent art installations throughout the space that reflects the themes explored within the design.

The design process has been guided through engagement with multiple, complex stakeholders including Tate Modern Director, Frances Morris, the Estates department and Tate Eats, our client and F&B operator.

Other challenges have included working with the gallery’s existing, complex building services with minimal disruption to the gallery. Lighting design by There’s Light will help define different spaces and mark the transition from day-time cafe to night-time bar.

Jonathan Harvey, co-Founding Director, Holland Harvey said,

Tate Eats, and Holland Harvey worked closely over the past 18 months to deliver Corner. Conceived as an extension of the public realm, the design seeks to be inclusive, functional, and beautiful, welcoming and accessible to all.