Josef Albers Exhibition
Gould Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 2018
The coffee shop is located in a narrow storefront in downtown Portland. In response to the confines of the 17 x 62 ft space, a straightforward layout was developed alongside a highly reflective material palette. Opposing the dark and tucked away atmosphere of these ubiquitous urban spaces, the reflectivity of the project had a twofold effect— the creation of an expanded visual (and virtual) field and the bringing of light and activity from the street deep into the plan.
The shop is organized down the centerline of the space. Seating is located predominately along the northern half and also wraps around the front and rear. A continuous wooden bench with a high back serves as a communal seating element where customers can watch the baristas at work.
A series of small mirror polished stainless steel tables are fixed at regular intervals. Stools migrate around over the course of the day depending on the social situation. The southern half of the coffee shop is largely given over to a stainless steel service block with an integral glass pastry display. This service area includes a full height storage room behind a concealed door. The shop floor is polished concrete and, like the other material choices, reflects both daylight and activity.
The ceiling in the existing space had exposed open web steel joists running at 45 degrees to the walls of the building. Playing off the existing structural organization of the columns and primary and secondary trusses, a bold geometric underlay of white painted wooden slats form a new ceiling scrim. This slat pattern is in turn reflected infinitely though the mirrored wall planes lining the room. These mirrored planes start at 5 ft above the ground (half of the 10 ft overall finished ceiling height) and establishes the other key centerline plane in the shop. In dividing the shop between a lower and less reflective lower half and a mirrored upper half, the result is a space that is both intimate and infinite.
Location: Portland, Oregon
Design team: Landry Smith, Daniel Kendra
Program: coffee shop
Area: 1,100 sq ft