A café in Beijing responds to the need for green in the polluted city

Beijing – In Beijing, there’s a new (needed) urban green space in town. Seesaw Coffee’s newest, perfectly manicured café in the Chinese capital appears to piggyback on the national government’s move to add forested landscape to the polluted cityscape. Albeit, it’s indoors.

In 2018, it was reported that, since 2012, over 89,000 hectares of forest had been added to fight Beijing’s 'airpocalypse' and improve the quality of life. The national action plan also put considerable caps on coal consumption and slashed specific pollutants in the Chinese capital by 25 to 83 per cent, a UN Environment Programme and Beijing Municipal Ecology and Environment Bureau found. The skies haven’t seemed bluer in many years, as even Emmanuel Macron would attest.

Considering the city’s crusade against pollution, interiors leaning into biophilic design in Beijing seems timely. Nota Architects, the firm behind the leafy 221-sq-m café, has worked on over half of the specialty coffee company’s 20 spaces. But this is their greenest yet, ironically atop a symbol of urbanization, a mall.

CN Flower Zonyong Ling is responsible for the design of the garden, situated in sunken plaza. The coffee bar itself exists as almost an island unto itself in the mossy, rocky terrain, shrouded in a layer of mist. Surrounding the core of the space, blocks of wood and customized planters incorporate even more foliage. And, to ensure multiple target groups would be able to enjoy it all, the seating layout was carefully considered and dispersed to encourage varying social scenarios.

Offering sweeping views of the metropolis beyond the interior refuge is a glass curtain wall, which faces a terrace. The bird’s-eye view shows, that when it comes to achieving clearer skies and greener land in Beijing, there’s still much to be done outdoors – in the meanwhile, the indoors can give a hand.


Location 101 Chaoyang N Rd, Chaoyang Qu, Beijing, China

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