Friday, July 13, 2007

Coffee shop, then and now

The coffee shop one went to in the old days was the ‘Indian Coffee house’ or the ‘Udipi’ restaurant that offered the “filter coffee”. Today, indian cities have a variety in coffee shops – the Café Coffee day, the Barista and so on. These do not sell the indian filter coffee. They sell “cappuchino” and “café au lait” amongst other european coffees. The present-day coffee shop is a new kind of space within our interior architecture needs. And, how does one design such a “place to hang out” where the cup of coffee of western origin is more expensive than the filter coffee of indian origin? What do the young users of these new spaces expect?

‘Pastries,Coffee & Conversations’ was designed as a place for young people in Visakhapatnam. The new HSBC building was being built and there was soon going to be an increase in the demand for an already successful home-based bakery outlet in the vicinity. The client’s brief was - coffee shop that was simple and yet different.

The inspiration for the furniture came from George Nakashima’s work. It was designed with inexpensive curved pieces of teakwood that remain when the sides of a tree trunk are cut to make the clean slices for sale. The butterfly joint was used to link the pieces for the tabletop and the chair seat and back. Wrought iron was used for the support for both the tables and the chairs.

The space was envisaged as all-white textured walls with the richness of the polished teakwood and the lighting being the accent. This was a contemporary space because it belonged to the present. It hoped to link the new with the old. The space and the way the light was nurtured were new, the materials came from the past and the detailing was both old and new.

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