Despang Architekten
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theory
theory
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impression
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elements
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reception
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recognition

The aromatic black-bean experiences presently are a renaissance in the worldwide catering trade. As before, in the earliest days of coffee, such places of consuming and immersing into coffee benefitted from this trend. How does a traditionalist among the coffee producers react in this market?  In Hanover, the house Kreipe has been, since 1873, one of the traditional houses that up to these days produces the finest cakes in the “Bahnhofstrasse” and was selling these, with coffee as well, until 2002.  The regretful development of the “Bahnhofstraße” from a former “stoller”- shaped pathway to the current pedestrian route; universally-formed by businesses of European and world-wide branches led Kreipe to search for a new location.

 

The new location was found with a view of the Laves opera house and frequented connection to the bank quarter and cross-connection to the historically privileged streets “Luisen-“ and “Theatherstraße”.  The identification of a new location accompanies a changing of generations in patrons of the confectionery, which wants to open up to a more generationally spread clientele.  The concept strives towards that touch of custom-made, balancing a fine line between traditionalism and modernism. The differentiated atmosphere of the spatial shape contributes considerably to this concept. 

 

The guest first enters the ground floor in a narrow area. The facility elements: counter, rear sideboard and seating underline the depth of the space, by guiding with pronounced linearity the way into the shop. The linear bench and counter are, in this case, not self-sufficient elements, posed and proposed, as in an ordinary shop design.  Rather, they are modelled out of the bright floor and provide the entry bottleneck with spatial width. Functional parts such as bag file, cashier or "tasting hollows" are sculpturally formed in an additive or subtractive way.  A dark rear-sideboard with contrasting lighted and subtracted hollows forms the space limiting rear of the shop and takes up all functional elements such as preparation devices and up-keep, table-ware, and product presentation.

 

An elementary component of the design is material use.  Different from the usual finishes of similar shops, where cover veneers and trim-covered chip board is used, instead, in this case homogeneous materials show their specific structure with free edges. The rear sideboard is manufactured from black MDF plate, which tells about its substantial heritage through fine brown fibrous texture.  The homogeneity grants an "aging in" effect, because in daily use unavoidable strained edges show the same "true honest contents” and no "fake" core shamefully hidden underneath.

 

Coated with the same material, the counter, bench seating, and floor are covered by a 3mm thick layer from cream-white Vinyl, which appears on the faces as an additional layer.  A further layer is formed by 0,7mm thick brass, which is not edged against its "materialized will", but rounded softly with a radius of 80 mm in the corners. This kind of the treatment of brass transitions between tradition and modern trend; the material energizes on the one hand synonymously with traditional images of the culture of coffee, and on the other hand the brass is not nostalgically finished, but left in a half-readymade manner in the form of broad strips, in the sense of ensuring a tectonically up-to-date impression.

 

The sensual harmony of the fabric treatment is somehow reminiscent of and fascinated by the materialized atmosphere of 1935 “DDL-airline terminal” in Copenhagen by Architect Vilhelm Lauritzen.  Likewise, the brass was not incorporated in a highly polished quality like in typically shop fittings and furnishing.  The brass was pre-patented with "sulphur liver acid" and left beyond that untreated, so that its surface will daily adapt and change with the atmosphere enriched by steams of the coffee preparation. Thus the charm of the natural brass contrasts with the constant nature of the MDF-board and the artificiality of the Vinyl.

 

In the upper lounge the Vinyl in a woven structure forms a textile cladding, which “climbs” the two front wall surfaces, creating alcove/recess-like bench seating.  Through this space-seizing element the impression of the only 2,62m high, however over 13m wide, upstairs area is emphasized and the classicistic opera house through the long glazed wall.  This lounge is served by oval tables, whose lights are integrated into the black MDF top, aligned with brass ellipses on the floor and ceiling.  Black "3107" chairs by Arne Jacobsen and “369” Walter Knoll lounge-chairs along the windows, perfect a differentiation in the sense of Lounge ranges of the Royal Hotel and SAS airlines building in Copenhagen, which represented a similar affinity for the surrounding pulsating and trafficked urban area.

coffeetime - coffee bar and lounge