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Chengdu’s % Arabica cafe is designed to really feel like “a small neighbourhood”

The buzzing atmosphere of Chengdu‘s Kuanzhai Alley has set the tone for this cafe by BLUE Structure Studio, which is centred on a water-filled courtyard for people-watching.

Kuanzhai Alley is the collective identify for 3 parallel roads working by means of downtown Chengdu, encompassing Kuan Alley, Zhai Alley and Jing Alley.

Exterior of % Arabica coffee shop in Chengdy with traditional Chinese roofs
The % Arabica cafe is ready in Chengdu’s Kuanzhai Alley district

The trio of streets dates again to the Qing dynasty. However for the reason that early 2000s, it has develop into populated with quite a few stylish outlets, bars, eating places and cafes together with % Arabica, which now occupies a former house.

Knowledgeable by these bustling streets, BLUE Structure Studio designed the espresso model’s newest outpost to be “like a small neighbourhood the place individuals can stroll and keep for some time”.

Grey paved walkway surrounded by wooden pillars in Kuanzhai Alley cafe by Blue Architecture Studio
The cafe’s inside is designed to resemble a road

“We consider {that a} cafe gives greater than only a drink,” defined the studio. “Extra considerably, espresso gives alternatives for individuals to collect, talk and totally expertise the native city tradition.”

“By extending the colourful dwelling and cultural ambiance of the alley into the cafe, we renovated the location to make it a dynamic public area that gives a wealthy and strong expertise,” the studio added.

White counter and stool seating around % Arabica cafe in Kuanzhai Alley by Blue Architecture Studio
Gray bricks line the ground in addition to forming benches and planters

A pavement-style pathway runs by means of % Arabica‘s meandering inside, fashioned from the identical gray bricks which might be ubiquitous to the Kuanzhai Alley space.

Extra of the bricks have been used to make the cafe’s planters, in addition to just a few blocky benches that invite individuals to perch and chat.

Long white counter surrounded by white pillars in % Arabica coffee shop in Chengdu
Drinks are ordered and ready at a counter in direction of the again of the cafe

Alternatively, prospects can occupy barely extra non-public seating cubicles in a single nook of the cafe, that are lined with handmade white bricks.

Orders may be positioned at an enormous white counter on the rear of the plan, conceived as a sort of “roadside store” that prospects come upon whereas strolling down the cafe’s winding path.

On the centre of the constructing, BLUE Structure Studio reinstated an open-air courtyard that the earlier occupants had coated with a pitched roof.

Surrounded by glass panels, the brand new courtyard is full of a mattress of white pebbles and a shallow pool of water.

Central courtyard of Kuanzhai Alley coffee shop filled with pebbles and water
On the coronary heart of the plan is a water-filled courtyard

Operating across the perimeter of the area is a sequence of all-white counters and stools, permitting prospects to people-watch whereas having fun with their espresso.

“The precise expertise of seeing and being seen helps to boost the curiosity of the area,” stated BLUE Structure Studio.

“Folks can stroll, relaxation and luxuriate in time freely within the cafe,” the studio continued. “The colourful scene stands for a reappearance of life from outdated Chengdu.”

People sitting around glazed interior courtyard of % Arabica coffee shop
Seating across the courtyard lets prospects people-watch

This is not the primary time that Beijing-based BLUE Structure Studio has labored with % Arabica.

Again in 2020, the studio designed the espresso model’s Shanghai outpost as a U-shaped glass field in order that guests can observe the streets past.

The pictures is by Zhi Xia.


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