St. Louis' iconic, midcentury flying saucer structure, which now houses a Starbucks. The space was threatened with demolition until the coffee company came to the rescue.
Say what you will about its coffee; when it comes to store design Starbucks deserves an A+ — hey, maybe even an A+ Award — for making some surprising gambles in recent years. The chain's latest effort preserves a midcentury modern gas station in a historic St. Louis residential district. After a taco joint occupying the space closed last summer, the flying saucer, as it is known locally, was threatened with demolition before Starbucks came to the rescue (with an equally giant demitasse cup, we hope!).
The blogosphere has faithfully followed Starbucks through its experiments with current design fads, from repurposed shipping containers to the tiny-house movement—which a new Denver Starbucks is channeling with a petite snow-fence-clad box that's almost as big as a Trenta frap. The company owes much of its success to architect Arthur Rubinfeld, president of global store development (and an A+ Award juror!)
Herewith, a photo tour of the proverbial third places that actually inspire us to pay four bucks for a latte.
Starbucks' pop-up shop in Tokyo, designed by Japanese studio Nendo, reimagines the cafe as a library where visitors can browse literature on caffeinated beverages while sipping their lattes. Photo: Daici Ano via designboom.
Starbucks' new 500-square-foot LEED-certified store in Denver reimagines the typical coffee kiosk as a sustainable shed. Photo: via FastCoDesign
Looking like a giant shaken matchbox frozen in time, this Japanese Starbucks by Kengo Kuma and Associates has been dazzling pedestrians in Dazaifu since it opened in February. Photo: Masao Nishikawa via Architectural Record
Starbucks' "Reclamation Drive-Thru" in Tukwila, Washington, opened in December 2011, but it may not stick around long. Designed to be transient, the store is built from four of the company's own shipping containers. Photo: Tom Ackerman via Starbucks
Nestled among the trees of the sanctuary Ohori Park in Fukuoka City, Japan, this cedar-clad Starbucks is the country's first LEED-NC retail project. Photo: Yoshiteru Baba via Architectural Record
A 4,500-square-foot Starbucks located in the historic vault of an Amsterdam bank on the Rembrandtplein, jazzed up with the handiwork of three dozen local artists and craftsmen. The ceiling relief alone is composed of 1,876 individually cut pieces of reclaimed Dutch oak. Photo: via FastCoDesign