By Will Speros
In the New Alkapuri section of Vadodara, India, Modernist Coffee embodies the brand’s self-appointed principles of “Spaces, People, and Coffee” across an elevated corner of one of the neighborhood’s high-rises. Locally based architecture firm the Crossboundaries spearheaded the design of the 1,350-square-foot café concept, which also includes 900-square feet of terrace gardens—one complete with an infinity pool—that promise a respite from the bustle of city life. The entire café is conceived with an openness that promotes flexibility and an organic connection between art and public living.
“We decided to make most use of these spaces, as well as turn the café into an open-plan, barrier-free layout suitable for art exhibitions and gatherings,” says the Crossboundaries founder Harsh Boghani. Colorful elements offset the starkness of a material palette that includes metals and wood as well as microcrete floors. Deep blue tones and the raw red hue of exposed brick walls also balance out the more industrial aspects of the space.
One portion of a seating area is even outfitted with a wall-spanning bookself with backlit metal plates acting as shelves to showcase books, potted greenery, and other objects against the backdrop’s unfinished edginess. Boghani says, “By using materials in their raw, true form, as well as exhibiting the properties of ageing and distress on them, we intended to create a unique experience of savoring coffee.”
Lighting is also a key factor is setting the tone for Modernist Coffee. Although graced with abundant natural light, a custom grid system comprises a range of cylindrical spotlight fixtures across the ceiling to provide spotted, diffused lighting apt for art exhibitions. Sleek metal partitions detailed with thin glass establish a sense of transparency as well. The firm also created artistic interventions of its own, including a sculpture greeting visitors composed of raw jute and carved wooden beads conceived to appear like spilling coffee beans.
“There are many such moments of vibrancy and wonder around the café,” Boghani points out. “By taking the client brief forward and pushing the boundaries of what a new café typology means, we evolved fresh ideas about how the café, art, and performance spaces could coexist and thrive.”
Photography by Ishita Sitwala