Monday, October 04, 2004

I like my coffee hot

But this is sort of cold.

Gothamist pointed me to this new coffeeshop venture in New York: the design above, by Hariri & Hariri (architects) is what appears ot be a finalised plan for the flagship store, on pavement level in Manhattan.

The store, which will be run by the National Federation of Colombian Coffee Growers, will give the US another example of ‘ethical’ coffee–buying, whereby what you hand over at the counter will mostly go into the pockets of the workers involved in production (and retail, obviously) rather than being creamed off — no pun intended — by some faceless thieving bastard company.

With such moral warmth and cosiness behind the venture, I find the design to be its architectural opposite: cold. Or lukewarm at best. The front of the store (which is shown in Gothamist’s post) is highlighted by a room–height chevron of thick brown teak (incidentally, a wood which we shouldn’t *really* be using these days). Go in the door, and you are standing against its right–hand side, and can walk down its length, past the counter, to get to the back, which is where peripathetic’s viewpoint is taken from. For the entire length of the place, there’s this shapeless jellylike white plastic wall, which apparently forms some seats too, and lots of brushed steel.

It looks like a meeting–room in a futuristic office rather than somewhere to relax with your coffee. And while those who work freelance and yuppie around in Manhattan might like to work from a place like that — and it’d probably be a fitting place to do so — I’d not want, or be able, to relax there.

Here in Belfast, Clement’s and Caffe Casa are places where relaxation comes naturally. And I just happened on James Street South’s website: a restaurant, named after the, erm… boulevard.

No comments: