The empty space in a coffee cup or matcha bowl was the form-giving inspiration for this micro cafe spanning only 28 square metres. Negative spaces punctuate the space and circular geometries are consistently carried throughout the rest of the built form carving out seating booths, countertops, display shelves and overhanging canopies. It is a process of subtraction and addition to create the operational and anthropometrical needs of the cafe.
In this condensed space, it was essential that we balanced the numerous kitchen inventory with the customer zones, utilising every nook to add to that experience. We were able to create several working and customer zones including an experience/retail corner, a take-away counter, seating booths and even a small ‘Ritual Counter’ for conducting workshops and making drip coffee or bowls of powdered Japanese green tea (Matcha).
The experience circle was designed as a suspended enclosure where customers can duck under and experience the smell of different coffee grounds and tea products. Counter spaces were carved out to bring together a closer interaction between customer and barista, simultaneously bringing them in closer proximity to the coffee making process with aroma and grinding/tapping sounds. Customer seating are circular cut-outs in the concrete counters with matching petal-like tables to match. The main powdered pink concrete counter top was custom-casted in 11 separate pieces. Amongst them a minimal surface concrete counter top for takeaways formed by using a special fabric formwork. Cracks were also purposefully cast in the concrete to allow planting to emerge from beneath, an inspiration taken from plants growing on old buildings. Circular metal tables were created to project from the walls and similarly from the concrete seating booths. The concrete counter block was visually made to be contiguous with the floor with adjoining gentle curved radiuses.
The entire volume was entirely holstered from the ceiling with no supports connecting the bottom counter top mass, giving a surreal lightness about the whole structure. The overhanging volume was also rendered in heavily textured stucco inspired from gritty coffee grounds to create an anti-gravity coffee cloud. The resultant aesthetic from subtractions and additions, creates a massing that appears fluid with its own fuzzy logic, certainly not based on any premeditated form or symbol of what a cafe should be.