hcreates recently opened a new café for Mini Cuppa in the striking Zaha Hadid Sky Soho development in Hongqiao, Shanghai. The client wanted a youthful and cozy space to attract the young professionals in the surrounding office towers. When hcreates first started to learn about Mini Cuppa, they immediately noticed their range of creative drinks and snacks that were very eye-catching. Design Director Hannah Churchill said the creative process was ignited by the products. “We kept going back to this one bubble-tea image, the layers, texture and colours formed within the tea had a really interesting and playful imagery. We couldn’t help but let that influence the design aesthetic for the space”
The site being at the end of a row of stores had an extremely curved wall end typical to the buildings overall design. Using the natural shape of the site we formed a large curving banquette, which nestles into the back of the store, wrapping around the customer seating area. Caramel coloured walls warm the space between the striking black and white custom terrazzo floor and custom polished stainless steel lighting fixtures.
The terrazzo floor was custom made especially for the project, inspired by bubble tea balls, each tile was pre-cut and inlaid with irregular pebble shaped stones. Then each individual tile was numbered, installed and polished on site to create the eye-catching and playful floor pattern. The relationship of the bubble tea curves and of the building site itself played a consistent role in informing the design of the store. The terrazzo tables continue this relationship, with intersecting curved bases and tabletops in contrasting colours.
Above the large wrapping banquette, large polished stainless steel disk shape pendants were also custom made for the project. Each circular disk was folded to create a slight cone shape and hung on an angle. Using the irregularity of the cone and their angle we could play with the installation rotation to create a unique and sculptural lighting piece. As the sunlight moved through the space during the day these reflected and interacted with the light. Large paper lanterns and planting soften the space and add to its relaxing atmosphere. Hannah said “Overall we wanted to create space where people could take a break from their office desk in the tower above and socialize with colleagues and enjoy an inspiring, light and fun space”.