Blue Bottle Coffee, Seongsue Cafe

Designed by: Jo Nagasaka/Schemata Architects
For client: Blue Bottle Coffee Korea Ltd. Floor area: 1396.17 M² Year of completion: 2019
Submitted for:

About the Project

This store is located in Seongsu, Seoul. In the past, the area was clustered with closed factories, but now it is rapidly turning into a trendy spot after young artists started moving in. Recently, there are an increasing number of stylish stores in this neighborhood. Blue Bottle Coffee Seongsu Store, combined with the headquarter and roastery, is Blue Bottle Coffee’s first store in Korea opened in this area. It is a four-story building with a basement and the store occupies three floors from the basement to the second floor, using the basement as a cafe, the first floor as a roastery and a coffee beans storage room, and the second floor as an office. One can see the entire coffee preparation process from bringing in green coffee beans to roasting to brewing in this building. The main reason for locating a cafe in the basement is that the first floor faces a major road with heavy traffic and the view from inside is not very pleasant, in addition to the fact that the basement has high ceilings. Part of the first floor slab was punched out to create a cafe with a double height ceiling in the basement. Taking advantage of the fact that stainless steel is less expensive in Korea than in Japan, we used stainless steel to make various elements including side walls of counters, stairs, handrails, and doors. In addition, bricks are a historic construction material used to build many buildings in Seongsu and this building is also finished with bricks.

What’s unique about it

When you come in the entrance, you can see the cafe, roastery, coffee beans storage room all together, through a double height space. Once you go down to the basement floor, you can see the training room, cupping room, and a workshop space that those who are interested in coffee can take part in. In this neighborhood where coffee culture is firmly rooted in their daily lives, this café offers an opportunity that anyone can feel familiar to the process of how a cup of coffee is made. The café located in the basement provides a calm and peaceful space away from the bustle on the ground. We made use of stainless, a kind of material that is used everywhere from a bench in the subway to the tableware in Seoul. Also, we used bricks, a historic construction material used basically for exterior wall, to make furniture inside.

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