The coffee shop’s significance in the history of humanity is not to be underestimated. As sanctuaries for solitude as well as conversation and exchange of news, politics and ideas, these “third spaces” are more than just a place to drink coffee. Witness the grand kaffeehausen of Vienna, where intellectuals and artists such as Sigmund Freud and Gustav Klimt would be seen regularly propping up the bar, or the intimate kissaten of Japan where salarymen start their day with dark roast coffee and pizza toast for breakfast, a slice of quiet before being absorbed into the chaos of the corporate world.
Some cafes are starkly decked out, allowing coffee equipment and brewing performances to shine; others create an entirely fantastical world, be it via pop-art modernism or immersive bamboo forests where you just so happen to be able to order a flat white. Around the world, as cafes continue to soar in popularity and coffee consumption per capita steadily increases, it’s even more of an imperative to stand out with great architecture and thoughtful design. In anticipation of the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards to be announced on 14 October 2021, we take a look at some cafes shortlisted around Asia for an accolade—and more that we just love the look of.
1. Vista Coffee Shop, Fuzhou, China
Hong Kong and Guangzhou-based architects Karvone designed this 945 square meter coffee shop with a dramatic undulating ribbon-like steel structure hovering overhead, with greenery hanging gracefully from the trellises. Terrazzo and metal are used as generously as soft flowers and plants, with terrazzo benches and flooring for added whimsy. Vista is shortlisted for a Restaurant & Bar Design Award.
8 Chayuan Road, Wu Si Lu Zhong Yang Shang Wu Qu, Jinan Qu, Fuzhou Shi, Fujian Sheng, China, 350025