In Greece, drinking coffee is a national pastime and there is record number of coffee shops to prove it. And yet, despite or maybe because of their ubiquitousness, the focus is more on the socializing aspect of the experience rather than on the coffee itself. Not so in KOFI microroastery, a new coffee shop in the centre of Ioannina in northern Greece where it’s the coffee that takes centre stage; literally, with the shop’s coffee roaster equipment on prominent display. Serving its own specialty blends sourced from sustainable producers, the venue, whose motto is “bean to cup”, welcomes visitors in a daylight-filled space designed by Vicky Poriki of local practice VP architectural studio. Combining an austere, industrial aesthetic that embodies the establishment’s no-nonsense attitude towards coffee making, with a nostalgic sensibility that harks back to a time of simpler pleasures, KOFI is as unique as the coffee it serves.
Taking over the ground floor of a 1966 apartment building located in a central pedestrian intersection, the architects have removed all non-load-bearing elements to create a unified, open-plan space that completely opens up to the city, courtesy of the enveloping floor-to-ceiling glazed shop front. In order to retain this sense of spaciousness as well as visual connection, glass dividers separate the roaster machine from the public area thereby visibly demonstrating the shop’s “bean to cup” mantra.
Stripped down to its original building fabric, the space features exposed concrete columns and ceiling beams, the latter painted black, and a restored terrazzo mosaic floor, a typical feature of mid-century Greek residential architecture, harmoniously blending together the industrial and the nostalgic. This dual aesthetic is further enhanced by the black-painted metallic window frames and visible air ducts, the porcelain lamp shades, and the vintage display table showcasing products for sale, as well as the coffee offerings that range from cold-brewed options to traditional Greek coffee that is heated in sand.
If the black-painted ceiling structure and steel window frames are a reminder of the building’s past, then white is symbolic of the shop’s contemporary sensibility with white and light grey tiles featuring prominently in the bar area along with a slim, white-painted metallic shelving unit. Meanwhile, suspended white geometrical forms create interesting sculptural patterns and lighten up the all-black ceiling. The black and white aesthetic can also be found in the black cylindrical coffee bean dispensers affixed against the white tiling and the black bathroom wall tiling that covers parts of the white-washed bathroom walls.
The shop is sparsely furnished with seating predominantly arranged along the facades in the form of long wooden counters with matching stools, and an elemental banquette, complete with round tables cantilevered from its base, whose red upholstery provides a splash of colour in the interiors’ otherwise neutral tones. Ultimately, it is this close attention to detail, analogous to the shop’s dedication to coffee making, which makes KOFI microroastery a haven for coffee and design lovers alike.