“There is no essential difference between the artist and the artisan. The artist is an exalted artisan”, Walter Gropius declared in the Bauhaus Manifesto in 1919. More than a century later, his radical vision still influences creatives around the world as this recently opened café in China attests. Located in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province known as the city of eternal spring thanks to its temperate climate, ido & Friends Café was designed by local interior design practice Aurora Design in the spirit of the modernist ideals of the Bauhaus, namely functionality, simplicity and the rejection of distinctions between art, crafts and industrial design, in reflection of the brand’s open and inclusive ethos.
Conceived as much as a café as a meeting and co-working space where creatives and professionals from various fields can congregate, the venue is divided by a glass-brick wall into two sections, a café area in the front and a workspace at the back. The former is a laid-back, light-filled space featuring communal seating, including a long bench below the street-facing window, designed in response to a compact floorplan as well as to encourage conversation between patrons. A tall display-case, complete with a sliding ladder for the customers and baristas’ convenience, dominates the space, showcasing various items such as coffee cups, magazines and audio equipment.
Accessed via a small flight of stone-paved steps, the workspace features a large meeting table surrounded by bookcases and cabinets that can accommodate office supplies, as well as serve as a printing and copying station.
Coffee-hued wooden surfaces dominate the interior design, as well as the façade which is partly set back to create an intimate outdoor sitting nook, imbuing the space with warmth and conjuring the ambience of mid-century European cafés. Faithful to the Bauhaus inspiration, the team custom-designed the tables and chairs with both functional simplicity and artful craftsmanship in mind. Bespoke wooden pieces include compact tables that bolt onto the bench, chairs with distinct geometric shapes and cut-outs inspired by the letter “A” in the Bauhaus font, along with interlocking wall panels mixing different timber types.