Coffee Education and Training Workshop in the Old Street

Suzhou Industrial Park
Parallect Design
苏州市工业园区斜塘老街, Suzhou Industrial Park

Designer: Parallect Design
Project Design & Accomplish Date: 2023.1
Design Team: Wenjing Li, Nan Yang, Ying Zhang, Xiangpeng Kong
Project Address: Xietang Old Street, Suzhou Industrial Park
Building area: 114m2
Photography copyright:Yan she shi jue
Client: LIM Coffee
Materials: clear plexiglass, terrazzo tiles, black stone

The project is located in the Old Street, the banks of the Xietang River, east of Jinji Lake, Suzhou Industrial Park. The Old Street was rebuilt on the site of the original Xietang town, which has a history of over 760 years. Its history and customs was explored in depth at the beginning of the planning process, making it a fashionable and leisure district with a variety of functions. People of different ages and regions can find their own leisure and comfort in this rebuilt historical travel district.

We had already accumulated a lot of experience in commercial cafes, but a cafe with a certain performance nature combined with a teaching scene was a new design experience. Yet it is also a challenge to decide how to respond to the demand in such a historical area with complex environment and style.

In terms of spatial layout, we have taken the coffee education and training area which is the most characteristic area of the project as the centre of the space. We extended the whole space around the core function with concentric circles nested in layers. A reasonable flow of scale control is used to give people entering the space a feeling similar to that of a dynamic theatre.

Both entrances to the shop are open to the customers on the street. Those who come here for the first time will see the coffee education and training scene on the southern half fully displayed outdoor. Although curious, the outdoor scattered seating extending from the interior on the left will interfere with the flow line to some extent, so that most customers will not enter directly from the southern entrance, but choose to enter from the more guiding entrance on the northern space.

After entering the space, visitors will see some scenes of the coffee education and training area from the framed view. The sunlight will shine through the framed window on the white and textured wall. At the same time, the sight of the coffee education and training area will also wear a physical filter. Going deeper, you will reach the bar counter area where you can order. At this point, you can spend leisure time with a cup of coffee or experience the fun of making coffee with coffee roasters around the center. According to different needs, people will go around this center to reach different areas in the space layer by layer.

We hope to amplify the performance nature of coffee education and training through theater-like scene creation in the space. The coffee roasters in the center of the space are undoubtedly moving performers. They use coffee to bring the audience a wonderful five-sense experience, while the center island platform corresponds to the role of the stage. After entering the space, the layer upon layer of open vision is the careful planning of this stage, just like the curtain slowly opened.

In terms of material matching, we divide the entire space into upper and lower parts. The lower part is gray terrazzo facing with black metal furniture. The upper part is white paint with texture. We hope that the combination will create a sense of floating while emphasizing the uniqueness of the barista in the space. In order to contrast with the new Soviet-style texture of the existing antique buildings, orange transparent acrylic is also used to reconcile the overall black, white and gray tones, and make the perspective experience from different angles in the space richer.

Order a cup of delicious coffee here with some simple furniture, alone or with three friends, sit by the window, slow down your breath, quietly enjoy the passage of leisure time and taste the silent beauty of Xietang Old Street.

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