Studio Tour: Brixton Studio
Meet some of the members and residents behind our first South London site
By Gisselle Babaran
The African proverb ‘it takes a village’ – referring to how an entire community of people is required for a child’s safe and healthy development – can equally be applied to the best creative projects: working collaboratively through mutual encouragement, knowledge sharing and support is essential to the success of most undertakings.
This is true of Soho House’s Brixton Studio, our first London venture south of the river. Recently opened to Soho House members and Soho Friends, the space was brought to life through a collaboration between local artists, interior designers, and craftspeople. The space's head designer Alexandria Dauley and her colleague Micaela Sharp injected colour into the Studio with upholstered banquettes, and a stairwell mural was created by Brixton collective, BLKBRD.
‘Brixton has always been an intensely fluid space for the movement and interactions of different cultures’
The recently opened space gives members and Soho Friends the ability to host events, workshops, pop-ups, and exhibitions. This month, expect live music every Monday, open-mic sessions hosted by live music platform, RCRDSHOP, and West African-inspired jewellery making with Omolola Jewellery. The Studio has also worked with local distilleries Brixton Gin, Market Row Rum and London Beer Lab, and opened its kitchen to different food concepts. During November and December, you’ll find Middle Eastern comfort food specialists, Toum and Tahini.
The Studio is also home to a considered art collection – including works from Sonia Boyce, Hew Locke, Sola Olulode, Joy Labinjo and Godfried Donkor – that speaks to Brixton’s rich cultural legacy. Referring to the artists the Studio worked with to curate the collection, Soho House’s Head of Collections, Kate Bryan, says, ‘This is the tightest geographical radius we have ever worked to. Everyone is intimately connected to Brixton.’
Notable commissioned works include a mural by portrait painter Alvin Kofi, titled ‘Arrivals’. ‘When asked to create an image for the space, I could only propose something I and everyone else could connect to: migration,’ says Kofi. ‘Brixton has always been an intensely fluid space for the movement and interactions of different cultures.’ The work is part of the Studio’s changing mural programme, running along the wall of the bar. It pays homage to the Windrush generation of Afro-Caribbean people who settled in Brixton after the Second World War.
The bar itself is equally commemorative of the communities that came to define Brixton in the post-war years. Called Pearls Bar, it pays tribute to the late LGBTQIA+ activist, Pearl Alcock. The Jamaican-born and Brixton-based community figure ran the legendary Shebeen – an unlicensed bar that offered a place for London’s Black queer community in the mid-1970s.
The Studio’s vibrant stairwell mural, ‘Champion Sound’, created by south London-based collective BLKBRD, nods to cultural expressions specific to Black British music and nightlife culture. ‘The mural reflects the rebellious spirit and kinetic energy that Brixton’s creative residents have served to their community and neighbours over the decades,’ says BLKBRD. ‘[In the mural], creation spirits dance on the soundwaves of time, propelled by the vibrations of Brixton’s relentless musical energy.’
Champion Sound speaks to past legacies of joy and comfort found in community – something that’s been aptly reflected in the Studio’s residency programming. Syrian-Iranian food concept Toum and Tahini is the first food pop-up to be hosted there. ‘It’s great to see so many of the members and guests enjoy our food,’ the cofounders explain. ‘The feedback we have received has been so appreciated and motivating to pursue our passion and mission.’
The history and legacy of Brixton as a site of cultural transformation has (quite literally) been embedded into the Studio’s fabric. ‘[The] space was designed to be representative of the area in which it sits – to celebrate Brixton, it’s people, heritage, and talent,’ says Alexandria Dauley, the Studio's head designer.
Through a collaborative effort between the Soho House team, the members who helped breathe life into the space and the engagement of those who walk through the Studio’s doors, Soho House hopes to continue this tradition.
To see the full list of events, click here.