The Designer Behind Brooklyn’s Cutest New Café Spills Her Secrets
Welcome to La Cantine
Updated Sep 29, 2021 6:58 AM
Everything Sophie Lou Jacobsen touches turns to cool. Ribbed glass becomes spray bottles; pitchers sprout whimsical, squiggly handles; and wide-brim lampshades don eye-catching pleats. This year, Jacobsen, cofounder of both furniture studio Studio Sayso and graphic design firm Our Studio, has brought her unique vision to a much larger project: La Cantine café in Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood.
“Rather than filling a space with objects, I like to treat a space as though it is an object,” Jacobsen says of her interior design process. “My first focus is on the shapes and the materials, then I think about the layout.”
The end result is everything she hoped it would be. Jacobsen’s favorite parts of the space are the coffee area (where a wood countertop comes alive with waved edges), the Ladies and Gentlemen light fixture (which cantilevers dramatically over the window-side date table), and the twisty brass sconces with their dainty lampshades (an adaption of a design she did with Sarita Posada for Studio Sayso). “I really wanted La Cantine to feel like a happy, joyful space. That’s how I think about all of my products in general; I try to bring joy to the user, and I wanted the same experience for this place, for it to make people smile at the unexpected details.” Next time you’re in Bushwick and hungry for a snack—or a well-designed space—check out La Cantine.
In the meantime, read on for Jacobsen’s three top decorating tips when you’re starting from scratch.
You Don’t Need to Choose Just One Aesthetic “I met Ioana Hercberg (co-owner of La Cantine, along with Ray Lyons) in Paris when we were both 20 years old. It was always kind of a given that whenever she opened her own place, I would be the one to design it,” says Jacobsen. Hercberg wanted a space that transported diners to the warm, traditional cafés found in the small French and Spanish towns where her family is from. “My personal aesthetic is a lot more contemporary and Pop-y,” Jacobsen says, “so finding a way of blending those two styles was my challenge.”
The granite floor tiles, tables, and marble checkout counter all borrow cues from traditional European eateries. Jacobsen inserted her trademark style into other areas of the café, like the scalloped edges on the countertops, the wavy curtains, the tubular upholstery, and those whimsical sconces. Even the plates are curvy and colorful.
Go Beyond Millennial Pink “Color is one of the most important things to me as a designer,” says Jacobsen. “It’s a way to introduce people to a space and convince them to be more adventurous.” She initially wanted to go with a pale pink palette, but ultimately felt it was too trendy and settled on a more timeless scheme instead: creamy yellows with blue, blush, and green furniture and floral accents (the flower arrangements was done by Fleurotica and the bathroom by Anahit Pogosian). “I really pushed for the pops of color in the space, and once they were in there, we all realized how much sense it made.”
Keep It Cohesive When you enter La Cantine, you truly feel as though you’re stepping into not just a cozy diner but another world. The countertops, menus, silverware, wall decor—they aesthetically sync. Having a say in all aspects of the design experience, from branding to paint colors, was key for Jacobsen. “La Cantine’s logo was designed by Charlotte Delarue, but the rest of the branding was done by me and my boyfriend, Adrian Harwood (we share a graphic design studio, Our Studio),” she explains. “Thinking about cohesiveness in the beginning of the process pays off in the end.”