Surfaces: Focus - Rich roast

Far from being one of the world’s favourite drinks, coffee can also be used to make surfaces in increasingly creative ways.

Words By Kay Hill

Kali Coffee Roasters

1. Coffee beans as well as coffee colours are at the heart of architecture and design studio Concéntrico’s new store for Kali Coffee Roasters in San Pedro Garza Garcia, Mexico. The design has been created to capture visually the rich heritage of Mexican coffee production, with the rich grain of the walnut wood used at the bar and booths chosen to embody the time taken to grow a coffee crop. The most striking aspect of the design is the natural clay tiles, an idea which developed after the designers visited the coffee growing areas and saw the traditional homes of the plantation workers, with earth walls and handmade tiles. Concéntrico incorporated these rustic tiles into the design, not only to convey that traditional way of life, but to offer a unique and warm texture that will function as an ambiance trademark for the brand. In addition, the curved tiles help absorb and deflect sound waves to improve the acoustics, and, when the light catches them right, the curved shadows resemble coffee beans.

Concept and interior design: Concéntrico
Lead contractor: Julian Martinez
Custom furniture and lighting: Ok Design Studio

Josafat Zalapa

Image Credit: César Belio

2. Mexican architect Francisco Mendéz of practice FMA, was tasked with transforming a 19th century house in Morelia City, Mexico, into an exclusive restaurant, Josafat Zalapa, which celebrates traditional Mexican cuisine. Mendéz decided to retain the historical features of the building, adding wooden floors and pigmented cement to the walls to create a timeless, rustic feeling and represent the down-to-earth goodness of the food. Every item of furniture and lighting was custom designed, using simple wood and neutral colours, creating a restful, muted and almost monastic ambiance where it’s the food that takes centre stage.

Client: Josafat Zalapa
Architecture Office: FMA.
Furniture: Axoque Studio

Thomson’s Coffee

Image Credit: Zac+Zac

3. The design for the new headquarters of Thomson’s Coffee in Glasgow takes inspiration from the core values of the brand – tradition and innovation – and, of course, from the rich colours of coffee itself. The new espresso bar and flexible workspace, designed by Technique Studio, has a mix of materials to reflect these values including a modern HIMACS counter in Intense Ultra Dark Grey, along with the more traditional look of smoked oak and panelling made from Valchromat wood fibre panels to resemble a traditional Victorian retail interior. The contrast of the rich ultra grey surfaces with the natural beauty of wood creates a warm and inviting space for catching up over coffee, and won the practice a Scottish Design Gold Award 2023 in the Interior Design category.

Client: Thomson’s Coffee
Architect: Technique Architecture & Design Studio
Structural Engineering: Design Engineering Workshop
Counter: HIMACS

Rio Tinto

Image Credit: Sharyn Cairns

4. When global mining company Rio Tinto asked architecture studio Woods Bagot to design its new Melbourne headquarters, it requested a humanised, tactile and immersive workspace, part office and part museum, that would tell the company’s story. Design leader Marcia Ascencio researched the materials that the company mined and created an expressive, textured and sculptural interior. With a focus on four main minerals and metals, the arrival space is filled with finishes evoking the textures of sand, clay and rock found across Rio Tinto’s Australian mining sites. The rendered concrete walls resemble bauxite in texture and tone, while the monolithic stone reception desk was carved and sandblasted on site. The ceiling features a translucent fabric mesh made from copper threads, moulded by hand into rock-like curves, while redundant drill heads sit like modern sculptures on sanded steel plinths. A digital screen shows changing images of the minerals, while breakout spaces are created using iridescent copper curtains and glass doors with privacy decals of the landscape.

Client: Rio Tinto
Architect: Woods Bagot
Privacy glass: Studio Ongarato

Tomas & Jani

Image Credit: Tomas & Jani

5. The deep, rich coffee colours of Kava solid surface material by Tomas & Jani should come as no surprise, since it’s actually made from coffee waste. It is sustainable, containing zero plastic, that can be turned into architectural surfaces, wall panelling, worktops, splashbacks, furniture and homeware items. Kava is made from a combination of coffee waste and other organic fibres such as powdered fruit stone or crushed argan and walnut shells, on a substrate of recycled pallets, chipboard or plywood. Different colours and textures are achieved using organic powders or byproducts such as ground metals, powdered marble, charcoal dust and natural pigments. These Kava tables were commissioned for FUMI, a Japanese concept restaurant in Brighton.

Client: FUMI
Concept designer: Fabio Lauro
Bespoke Kava tables: Tomas & Jani

Teresa Hastings

Image Credit: James Harris

6. Teresa Hastings, who exhibits her work at Sarah Myerscough Gallery, has a focus on architectural design and crafted product. She studied textiles at Central Saint Martins, then worked for Jack Lenor Larsen in New York as a weaver and colourist before becoming an interior designer. In 2017 her focus returned to textiles and natural dyeing and she began spending increasing time in the Indian Himalayas where she founded Studio Kashi. She now creates tactile and sculptural works with a zero impact on animals or nature, collaborating with traditional local artisans and supporting the use of local materials. Her latest work, Chains whether of gold or iron are equally binding, is a 2.3m tall triptych of handspun, naturally dyed Himalayan wool, long and short fibre, felted wool, Khadi cotton, Washi paper, local nettle fibre, hemp raffia and hammered iron wire, that was a recent hit at PAD London.

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