Nendo recently brought to life % Arabica Abu Al Hasaniya, a new coffee shop in Kuwait City. Bathed in natural light from both sides, the corner café blurs boundaries among visitors, and between the indoors and outdoors with its amphitheatre-like seating system.

Fostering interaction between people was a key focus for Nendo while designing the 190-sq-m space for the Kyoto-based specialty coffee brand. To do so, Oki Sato and his team built a layered platform within the crisply white space that allows each person – employees and coffee-drinkers alike – to have a view outside.

In addition to creating a shared line of sight, the indoor amphitheatre’s absence of individual seats or tables leaves one with the impression that they are sharing a coffee with everyone else in the café. Even still, peripheries are made limited where needed: as to respect Islamic custom, Nendo designed the curved bench so that women would be able to avoid unwanted eye contact with men.

Employees and equipment are positioned on the highest section, and a ramp allows those who’d like to order to snake around the platform without disturbing those who are enjoying their drinks. % Arabica can seat 30 people indoors, and there are 44 additional seats available on the outside terrace.

Despite the convenience of an at-home brew and the ever-climbing price of getting a decent cup of tea or coffee, cafes such as % Arabica remain important fixtures in that they keep us (hopefully) offline and mingling one-on-one. One certainly doesn’t have to be an extrovert to appreciate Nendo’s effort in spatially prioritizing human togetherness.