Blue Bottle Coffee, Gramercy Park, Manhattan
The design of this cafe is meant to reflect Blue Bottle's progressive approach to coffee by riffing on the design of more traditional local cafe spaces to create a modern interpretation of the form. The neighborhood cafes offer a rich palate of materials and traditions to build upon, with their white stone and dark wood paneling set in grand, ornately-detailed, but often dimly-lit spaces. By radically rethinking these elements, this cafe projects a contemporary, sophisticated attitude that sets it apart and reinforces the BBC mission.
The scale and rhythm of the existing tall, deep space is amplified with large mirrors placed at either end, hinting at an endless, Hall of Mirrors level of grandeur. Geometric chandeliers uplight the decorative coffers and reinforce this grand scale while brightly illuminating the space to contemporary standards.
The layout blows apart the rigid linearity of traditional cafes with a flowing, angular floor plan that guides customer circulation smoothly through the space. The customary wood paneling is present in the form of walnut faced birch plywood, but by local standards, its configuration is radical, wrapping the cafe in a dynamic, zig-zagging form that morphs from seating, to retail, to coffee service, and back to seating again.
The richness of the dark wood is contrasted and leavened by the blond highlights of exposed birch plywood casework edges and matching wood furnishings, weaving local and BBC material palettes into a seamless whole. The ubiquitous white stone appears as a luminous feature wall behind the service bar, and as customer tables, which zig and zag through the space to complete the angled geometry and flowing circulation paths.
Like the coffee served within, the design of the Gramercy Park cafe brings a double shot of forward-thinking California modernism to the neighborhood.