Located in Shanghai’s former French Concession, a neighbourhood of tree-lined boulevards teeming with hip bars and restaurants, high-end boutiques, art galleries and antiques stores, the newly opened outpost of speciality coffee brand Yijian Café was designed by Beijing-based Golucci Interior Architects as an exercise in purposeful simplicity. Drawing from the area’s chic Sino-French interiors of the 1930s, the café’s minimalist design is enriched with playful, exquisitely crafted details that reflect the high-quality coffee the brand is dedicated to serving.
Taking advantage of its corner location, the team have anchored the space with a minimalist wooden box which stands out from the surrounding urban fabric. Large folding shutters reveal, once open, large glazed areas which draw you inside where you are greeted by a spinning vintage turntable – its old-school sensibility a reference to Yijian Café’s handcrafted coffee making process, with glimpses of the roastery through a glass door further underlying the point. The turntable sits on a long steel counter which runs the length of the space connecting the wooden box at the front with a concrete volume at the back. The juxtaposition between the soft, warm texture of the timber-clad entrance zone with the industrial undertones of the concrete surfaces and galvanized steel cabinetry creates a playful tension that animates the space despite its ultra-minimalist aesthetic.
In fact, the austere appearance of the stripped down, décor-less interior belies a treasure trove of exquisite details that allude to the complex blend of flavours and aromas a good cup of coffee should bring about. From the sculptural design of the cantilevered counter section, complete with rounded corners and seamlessly welded joints, and the trim-less floor recess underneath filled with volcanic rocks, to the brass step cover emblazoned with the brand’s logo at the café’s entrance and the custom-made linear pendant light with recycled fluorescent tubes, the team have creatively designed and precisely manufactured every element down to the finest detail. In conjunction with the interior design’s underlying minimalism, such thoughtful attention to detail is what makes such a compact space such a pleasure to hang out in.