Leonard makes SoBo look a picture

Peter Leonard, the interiors specialist who rose to fame in the 1980s with his work for WH Smith and Virgin Megastores, opens SoBo next week, a combined art gallery and coffee shop in London’s Southwark.

According to Leonard, the name is a play on the estate agents’ description of its ‘south of Borough’ locale. The identity, created in collaboration with Peter Ellis Design, which also created packaging and stationery, features ‘hand-scrawled’ lettering.

‘The challenge was finding an identity that achieves the balance between an art gallery and a coffee shop,’ says Leonard. ‘It needed to be friendly and informal enough for a coffee shop, but with art gallery connotations.’

The interiors colour palette is a ‘warm grey, with chocolate brown and rich red accents’, adds Leonard. Interiors feature slate grey ceramic tiles and a 40cm-high plinth which acts variously as storage, a display area and seating and runs the length of the space. Red moulded-plastic chairs and white marble-topped tables complete the look.

SoBo will sell its own blend of coffee and organic and GM-free snacks, as well as showcase modern and contemporary art, including painting sculpture, photography and ceramics.

Six shows a year are planned, with the launch exhibition featuring work by Henry Moore, Tracey Emin, photography by Hugh Gilbert and ceramics by Stephen Murfitt. SoBo opens on 20 January at 83 Tower Bridge Road.

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