HIGHER GROUNDS

charlottesville, virginia 1999

Description

Located on a downtown pedestrian mall, this 1300 square ft coffee shop is centered around an expresso machine “barrista pulpit.” This busy cafe includes comfortable seating, service counters, and a small prep kitchen. Vivid colors, inspired by those found in the coffee-making process, enliven these industrial materials. White diner china was selected to compliment the saturated colors. Stucco wall texture comes from images of the raked fields of drying beans.

The project references a greater whole. Downlights provide countertop lighting; they are configured and lamped to represent the star pattern and “magnitude” of the constellations Orion and Canis-Major. A night-blue sky field is created by a trough-mounted gelled-fluorescent ceiling wash. Integrated lighting reinforces latent universal symbols.

Materials

A machine aesthetic intrigued the owners. Stainless steel, sanded acrylic, Baltic plywood, and stained concrete were selected for their durability and low cost.

Set deep within the space, a bright yellow plywood “sun” lit by a scalloped wash is a beacon for the passer-by.