Cubitts opens new Broadway Market practice

Founder, Tom Broughton, described how Cubitts has worked to celebrate the heritage of the building, formerly home to F. Cooke and Sons pie and mash shop

“Every time we open a store it’s a real opportunity to try and understand the locality, and the people who make it up,” Cubitts founder, Tom Broughton, told OT, on a tour of the group’s latest site.

The new practice is housed in a Grade II listed former pie and mash shop, F. Cooke and Sons, on Broadway Market in Hackney, London.

The building was home to F. Cooke and Sons for 119 years, between 1900 and 2019, and on moving into the building, Cubitts partnered with local architecture and design group, EBBA, in order to celebrate the history of the site.

“When we moved in, it was a real opportunity to revive, restore and celebrate this incredible history of the building,” Broughton said.

Much of the interior of the building dates back to the 1930s, Broughton shared, explaining, “Most of our job in reviving the site was taking these existing details and bringing them back to their former magic.”

Original features of the building include a stained glass window in an Art Deco starburst motif and cream and mottled blue wall tiles.

The façade of the building, with reversed gilded signage reading ‘hot and jellied eels’ are also key details, with Broughton noting: “Every single little part of it has a story to tell.”

A selection of objects from the F. Cooke and Sons archives are also on display.

“Every store that we design, we design with the building in mind, and the people who live, work and spend time in the area. This site is no different,” Broughton said. “Because it is such an iconic and beautiful site, and because it is so well-known and loved, and revered in many ways, it is really important that we feel we’re not just replacing F. Cooke and Sons, but we’re offering a service to the local community and we’re custodians of the building.”

The practice will offer a full range of optical services from a new testing room created in the building, decorated with 1930s Maison de Verre-inspired detailing.

Cubitts has introduced further initiatives to celebrate the building and local area.

A capsule Broadway Market collection has been launched, exclusive to the practice.

The three frames in the collection include: the ‘Cooke’ frame, a 19th century-inspired oval shape; the ‘Orwell’, which pays homage to the esteemed writer who lived in the local area; and the ‘Starburst’, an experimental pair of sunglasses which reinterprets the building’s stained glass window.

Portraits by local sculptor and illustrator, Wilfrid Wood, are on display in the practice, while Cubitts also worked with east London-based designer and illustrator, Alec Doherty, to release a new cleaning cloth, with proceeds supporting a local Hackney running club, The Outrunners.

In collaboration with a neighbouring business, Artwords Bookshop, the Cubitts’ practice will offer a place to loan books from a curated collection.

“It’s a real celebration of both the building and Hackney more generally,” Broughton said.

Cubitts practices are often unique in history, heritage and design. Asked about the motivation for this, Broughton shared that, while this can be a lot of work: “I think that an optician is such an integral part of a community, and that community varies and differs.”

“I like to think that there is a design strand that goes through all of the different practices, but that each one has a very strong sense of identity and personality, very much like the people who inhabit the area.”

Are you in the process of opening a new practice, or does your practice have a unique history or an exciting initiative in process? Get in touch with the OT team at [email protected]