Black Sugar Coffee
“A pair of big pivot terrazzo doors has become the key elements in the design to link up the cool exterior to the warm maple wood interior. While the shopkeeper opens the shop every day, the big swinging gesture has become a new ritual to the customers. ”
The shop is only 8.8sqm while the minimum size of the food counter in Hong Kong needs to be 6sqm. That means the space reserved for customers would only have 2.8sqm. Thanks to the licensing area that the landlord actually allows the shop to spill out its loose furniture 1.8m away from the shopfront, that would let the café gain 4.6sqm more.
Black Sugar Coffee is located in Manning House, 38 Queen Road Central, Central Hong Kong. The building was built in 1965 and one of those typical commercial types with podiums occupied by retail shops and office towers above. The front and back of the building is facing different street levels and the podium is using split level design. As the shop is on the mezzanine floor connected directly to the back street level, it is connected by stairs and escalators from the front entrance. Since the shop is small, it has not attracted any attention like those big chain retail shops or restaurants that are largely occupying around this core business area in Central.
Despite its small size the design studio, LittleUrbanMountain, wants this micro café to be more welcoming and encourage customers to shop around. One of the goals that we shared with the client was to first seek attention from the street level at the front entrance of the building and to create a kind of “ritual” or “style” as their new brand identity for their first store presented in the Hong Kong Island side. The studio tried to seek this new identity from Black Sugar’s signature bronze and neon light Shiba Inu logo in their first shop in Peace Avenue at Ho Man Tin. The exterior façade of the new shop has also used the bronze lining with LED light strip to highlight the shop geometry to make the volume more pop – as if a floating cube tucked away from Queen Road Central but just enough to get the attention from the curious passersby. The terrazzo infilled stone panels have set at the height of the countertop of the shop which makes the shop more like a balcony hanging in the air.
A pair of big pivot terrazzo doors has become the key elements in the design to link up the cool exterior to the warm maple wood interior. While the shopkeeper opens the shop every day, the big swinging gesture has become a new ritual to the customers. The inner side of the pivot door is a shelving served as a retail corner, the increased shop area will also serve as the “outdoor” seating as well as a pet zone. The pivot door also further extends the origami feature wall inspired by the shop logo at the back of the coffee corner to make the shop visually even bigger. For the interior, all the fixed furniture are lined with maple wood veneer contrasted with the concrete flooring. The minimal downlights and two sided ribbon window have given a minimal and modern look of the space yet warm and welcoming. The origami feature wall with the signature Shiba Inu logo not only acts as a backdrop for the working barista, it also houses some hidden mechanics behind and displays the menu board. The wooden countertop extends from the coffee bar to the window side in the minimal cafe space, that encourages busy working class in Central to have a quick coffee but at the same time, creates a little moment to chat with the barista about coffee, Shiba Inu or life.