Designer Oki Sato, founder of Japanese firm nendo, has recently completed the interior design for Arabica Coffee located in the eastern coast of Kuwait, a new branch for the original coffee shop from Higashiyama, Kyoto. With crisp white as the base color of the space, the interior elements are accentuated with materials such as brass and concrete to fit the design theme of the Arabica brand and to symbolize the qualities of their high-end products. White coffee machines almost disappear to the background in order to highlight the coffee beans presented in linen bags behind a glass case and the “beans map” element hanged next to it.
Taking into consideration the 4-meter ceiling height and the location of the property on a corner with a wide window opening, the space was designed as a layered platform gradually rising from the seating area near the entrance to the counter at the top. This structure allows for a clear line of sight from any seat in the shop as well as a full view from the exterior to the occurring inside.
With this configuration, a line of people waiting for their coffee will not disturb the people sitting at their tables, while at the same time the staff at the counter have an overall view of the whole store. Although an open field of view was an important element of the design, in order to respect Islamic custom which advises women to avoid men’s attention, the bench was designed with a curve to reduce unwanted eye contact.
The 190 sqm space can seat up to 30 customers at once and 44 additional seats are available on the outdoor terrace. In order to visually connect between the shop’s interior and exterior, a part of the seating bench was extended to the other side of the window. For customers using wheelchairs and strollers, store staffs assist and deliver the orders to the entrance.
The division of the store into four vertical layers allows for multiple lines of sight for both the customers and staff. This stair-like structure maximizes visibility and encourages interactions between the customers, thus making it a pleasant and comfortable place to enjoy a daily cup of coffee.