— Frame Magazine —

Alberto Caiola sculpts the essence of coffee in a Shanghai cafe

SHANGHAI – Celebrating coffee’s alluring pleasures, Alberto Caiola puts a sculptural ceiling reminiscent of the elixir’s aromatic vapours at the centre of his design for a cafe in Shanghai. Flowing from the back of the room, the installation becomes at once a canopy and a stage under which baristas can perform their craft. Rich and dark in colour, the ceiling’s form winds forwards, up and beyond the venue’s retractable glass facade, providing a partially covered area for seating on the street.

Along one wall of the interior, an eye-catching display features an explosion of iconic Moka coffee pots in various sizes – intensified by a large mirror spanning the length of the space – which is a testament to the cafe’s love for the signature brew. To create an illusion of a larger space, furniture is finished with a reflective surface.

The design approach sees fittings effectively blend into the surroundings, while offering alternative vistas to guests both standing and seated. A stark combination of textures creates an interesting contrast, with sleek new elements positioned against exposed brick walls. This aspect brings a historical element to the space; the building’s shikumen bricks are part of a traditional, turn-of-the-century housing style typical of Shanghai.

Photos Dirk Weiblen.


This project will appear in our forthcoming hospitality design book Night Fever 5, which features inspiring interiors from across the globe. If you have designed a recent project that you wish to share for consideration – and a possibility to be included in the book – see here for more details: http://www.frameweb.com/books/how-to-contribute