Natural Boost

Sometimes patrons need to refresh as much as refuel. Here, SODA Architecture serves up an outdoor/indoor feel within a Chinese tower’s coffee shop.

CUPONE is not a typical corporate-lobby coffee shop. Set within a Beijing skyscraper that’s home to BMW China, SODA Architecture founding partners Jiang Yuan and Song Chen sought to evoke mountains and rivers in the caffeine-refueling hotspot’s two interconnected spaces. The “mountain” part of CUPONE is an open space on the lobby floor, while the “rivers” part is an enclosed cafe.

To create the feel of a hilly terrain in the lobby, the designers installed an undulating set of 300 vertical stainless-steel pipes bearing a champagne-hued sheen on their exterior sides.

“That exterior provides reflection, forming a dynamic 3D visual filter,”

says Jiang.

“Thus, the color and pattern on each leaf changes continuously with every move, posture and variation on the clothing of both patrons and passers-by.”

The enclosed dining space is dominated by peacock blue walls and an overhead installation of more than 1,000 white acrylic panels designed to evoke a moving stream of water. The overall result, Song says, is an

“experience that allows visitors to forget about the monotonous work environments that often dominate office buildings like this.”

View more from this Boutique Design issue