STUDIO / DESIGNER
Structures & Spaces
Ryan Crown (Creative Director)
Simon Worthington McQueen (Managing Director)
Aoife Mulvenna (Art Director and Interior Designer)
Grainne O’Neill (Account Manager)
Fit Out: Abbey Upholstery
Tiling: David Scott Tiles
Lighting: Hand & Eye Studio
Photographer: Elyse Kennedy
Design Challenge and Design Ideas
A historical building, a local coffee fanatic and a creative experienced in hospitality came together to lay Neighbourhood’s foundations. Bookending a terrace opposite Belfast’s St Anne’s Cathedral, Neighbourhood quickly established itself as an environment to unwind, ponder, and enjoy quality coffee, food and service. Partnering with Crown Creative, Neighbourhood Cafe was built to stand out as an ally for local, quality coffee and food, sourcing regional suppliers from season to season.
After a vibrant first year of physically realising the ethos we grew our name around, Neighbourhood suffered at the hands of a devastating fire. Re-opening in December 2022 with the support of the dedicated community who frequent the cafe, nestled amongst the cobbled streets of Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter on Donegall St., a considered, contemporary space, allows Neighbourhood Cafe’s vision to grow.
How the brief was fulfilled
The new space enabled the cafe an opportunity to elevate and expand. Now located only a stone’s throw away from the original cafe, Neighbourhood sits between historic Commercial Court and Donegall Street on cobbled paths under a string of festoon lighting. The new spot brings in elements of the old cafe with bold, ‘Neighbourhood Green’ shutters, a Parisian inspired scalloped awning and beautiful French green outdoor benches by HAY.
With a larger floor area to play with, we doubled the seating capacity of the original cafe and elevated significant elements that make up Neighbourhood Cafe’s identity, such as the banquette, chairs, tables and the cafe counter. We referenced colour palettes, textures and tones from the original cafe interiors, interpreting them into something new. The material palette, for example, makes reference to the first location with a nod to the old, prominent brick walls through a beautiful, Ketley Brick slip floor. The remainder of the interiors are paired back with soft, off-white walls, brass detailing, an oak framed, quartz counter and chairs inspired by Danish designer H. Wegner. Lighting is warm, perfect for long winter days and hazy summer nights, with opal and clay pendants from Hand & Eye Studio. Finally a green two toned banquette brings the ‘Neighbourhood Green’ inside, creating a pop of colour against the lighter wall colour palette.
Crown Creative wanted to give Belfast Neighbourhood back as quickly as possible so there was an unusually quick turn around time of 4-6 weeks. This included strip out, making goods, electrics, plumbing, joinery and FF&E procurement. Neighbourhood and Crown Creative, worked closely with a local fit out company, Abbey Joinery, who helped project manage the project and ensure we were back open for Christmas 2022. The ethos of curated consideration to sourcing, production and taste of the coffee and food served at Neighbourhood is reflected in the cafe’s detailed and elevated interiors, creating an elegant and serene atmosphere.