Basdban Coffee Shop / dongqi Architects
Photographs: Raitt Liu
Text description provided by the architects. Basdban, designed by dongqi Architects, is located on the first floor of a historical building in Shanghai that has lived through several renovations. The design of this project is supported by close collaboration between the brand founder, baristas, roasters, graphic designers, structural engineers, constructors, and the dongqi team, in an effort to create a comprehensive space accommodating coffee, roasting, retail, and event functions.
dongqi carefully selected and preserved the traces leaving by ages of renovations. Customised stainless steel with extreme craftsmanship was used as the major material for the newly built part. Meanwhile, 6mm-thick horizontal steel plates run through the entire space, merging the new design into this old building in a restrained manner.
The rectangular space in the middle is defined as a flexible multi-functional area that allows dining, events, or other uses. A stainless steel rail system is introduced to highlight the boundaries of the area. Accommodating functions such as lighting, monitoring, and metal curtains that divide different areas, the rails are symmetrically distributed along with the columns and beams. The lower layer of the rails is used for metal curtains, which can either be put away around the columns or pulled open to separate the space freely. This stainless steel rail system is gracefully hung near the ceiling of the area, whose historical traces are left unvarnished.
Stainless steel panels are used for the ceilings of the areas outside the concrete columns to hide the M.E.P system and define relatively fixed functional areas, including the stairs area, the bar counter, and the seating area. Stainless steel sheets are arrayed layer by layer to form the stairs, maintaining the 6mm-thick horizontal lines. Edges of the sheets are carefully shaped to fit the body curve of one’s back. Similarly, the movable benches on the right side of the entrance are made of a sheet structure, and the door handle is designed with the same horizontal-line element.
The bar counter is arranged close to the kitchen to facilitate preparations. Customized stainless steel refrigerators fit into the wall of the kitchen has multiple functions such as displaying, storing ingredients, and handing over dishes. The 8-meter-long floating bar counter is integrated with the original structure of the building. Close collaboration between the architects, steel structure engineers, and baristas has made it possible to cleverly hide the steel structures and pipelines in the cavity of the bar counter while allowing baristas to prepare coffee more easily. The massive volume of the table floating above the ground makes one feel surreal and paradoxical. Different from traditional coffee bar counters, the fully floating table gives customers a direct view of how the baristas move behind the long bar counter. At the same time, dongqi echoes the graphic design of this project to express the quirkiness of the Basdban brand.
Mirrors are used as the materials for the walls from the height of the bar table down to the ground, the sharp and reflective feature of which goes well with stainless steel while serves as a foil to the surrounding historical traces. One-way mirrors are used as the finishing on the wall facing the bar counter, behind which hides a LED screen. The mirror finishing extends the horizontal lines in the entire space and can be meanwhile used for video display. The rough concrete floor is polished and partially roughened again at the entrance.
To express the brand personality to the greatest extent while respecting the texture of the building from every piece of history, a 12-meter-long stainless steel sliding door is designed at the facade. When the door slides aside, all of the newly built doors and windows will be shown and the original facade is completely hidden. Foldable stainless steel panels allow the 8-meter-long floating bar counter to stretch outside, and the rest of the windows can be pulled up fully to maximize the integration of the inside and the outside space. When the door shuts over, however, all of the newly built windows will disappear, only leaving the original red brick walls visible. The space design of Basdban is a restrained interpretation of the bold and rebellious brand spirit.