In a world obsessed with coffee, it may sometimes feel as if Starbucks has cornered the market for java joints styled as communal spaces for millennial upstarts and laptop warriors. Design studios like Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, however, show that there are many more iterations still to be explored.
Its work for Blue Bottle Coffee in San Francisco’s cosy South Park neighbourhood, for instanced, is an exercise in airy, stripped back aesthetics that owes more than a passing nod to Nordic influences. Framed by AT&T Park and Bay Bridge, the former Kohler warehouse has been reimagined as a series of spaces lined with floating wooden boxes that are accented by original brickwork, timber columns, pale blue walls and concrete floors.
The menu comprises light bites like buckle with seasonal fruit, yoghurt parfait with a rhubarb compote, and ham and cheese baguettes. But the aroma of coffee churned out by a Mavam espresso machine is what pulls in the neighbourhood’s coffee junkies. That, and the adjoining Cold Bar, a stainless steel and birch plywood corner that concocts imaginative zero-proof cocktails like an Oji Old Fashioned, essentially slow-dripped cold coffee, jasmine syrup, and orange peel, and a Shakerato, an adrenalin jolt of shaken espresso and cream.