This tiny café is tucked in an alley between Chinatown and the Financial District. Inspired by our client’s love of all things Italian, we emulated the classic espresso bar experience—where folks take time out to relax with neighbors and friends.
Finding ingenious ways to maximize the limited space and foster community was top priority. We designed a hydraulically operated pivot window to open the storefront, creating a covered sidewalk area that extends the café outside. From inside, a large, counter height wood table on casters rolls partially out the opening to serve guests on both sides.
This project is magical to us as we were able to create it by collaborating with people that we love working with, who understood the budget limits and brought their creativity to the project. And the place just has that magical feel, where you can hang out with the owner and chat about life, bikes, art…and coffee, of course!
Materials are a mix of new and reused: steel, ceramic tile and salvaged wood, with restored board-formed concrete walls and old-growth douglas fir floors. We re-wired huge vintage stadium light fixtures to hang above the serving counter, to contrast with the small scale of the space. Heating for the snug interior is provided by the espresso equipment.