How to build a trendy café
By Sanna Huovinen 22.9.2016
A nice café or coffee house is always in vogue. People want to meet each other and spend quality time in cosy surroundings with a cup of coffee or tea. Many of us also enjoy working in a café. In recent years, cafés have become more or less extensions of our living rooms and office spaces. That is why we also pay so much more attention to their atmosphere and cosiness.
The number of cafés is actually on the rise in many countries alongside the growing interest in the continuously evolving trends of coffee, tea and other food and drink. Growth means there is room for many kinds of coffee houses, but it also increases competition over customers.
The concept of a new café must be solid and comprehensive to attract its own clientele. Ideally, the concept pleases all human senses. Everything matters: what we see, smell, hear, feel and taste. For a café owner and designer this brings many challenges: how to create a concept that is both trendy now and sustainable long into the future?
There are trends that are always in, like natural and ecological materials and the idea of genuine hospitality. Today’s log houses provide distinctive design options for urban and natural surroundings – for creating places that touch the customers’ hearts and evoke positive feelings.
New coffee shop concept is worth A new building
Establishing a concept for a new café is an inspiring and demanding process. The business plan is the basis for success: who will the customers be, what will pull them in? The atmosphere and style of the café and the quality of the drinks and food must be worth it so that people come in to enjoy them.
A special coffee house is worth its own house. This allows the designer to bring the concept alive both inside and outside the building. The floor plan, views from the windows and interior design are decisive on the inside. The facade outside is equally important: how does the café differentiate itself from others, how does it invite people in?
The location of the café is also crucial. Most cafés are situated in places where people spend their free time: in city centres and natural parks, near cultural attractions and nice outdoor sights. The location also places demands on the design of the building: the design should represent the business concept and fit nicely into the surrounding scenery.
Trendy Café Birgitta relies on nature
The surroundings may offer exceptional possibilities, and this is just the case with Café Birgitta in Helsinki, Finland. Located on the open seashore, the cafe basks in direct sunlight and celebrates a large horizontal view over the Baltic Sea. The café sits like a protected nest in an urban area where it is easy to drop in.
Cafe Birgitta was designed by architects Minna Lukander and Jari Heikkinen from Talli Architecture and Design. The cafe won the Log House of the Year award in 2014 in a competition organised by the Finnish Log House Association HTT.
The concept of Café Birgitta takes advantage of the surrounding nature: you can spend time on large outdoor terraces or gaze upon the sea through large glass walls, protected from wind and rain. The building materials and interior decoration solutions, which include an open fireplace, also respect nature.
This unique log house has a solid pine log frame which also acts as the interior wall design. The building consists of three separate structures and a terrace with large attached roofs. The exterior walls are almost black, covered by burned wood elements.
Sliding glass elements provide shelter and allow patrons to marvel at the continuously changing view over the water: here you can enjoy spring, summer and autumn by the sea. In the winter time Café Birgitta is closed.
Watch a video about how Cafe Birgitta was designed and built (video in Finnish):
A CHECK-LIST FOR CREATING A trendy COFFEE
- Differentiate. Think carefully about how the café differentiates itself from the other coffee houses in the area and how it invites people in. Create a careful business plan that covers your customers, staff, products and premises.
- Location. Place your coffee house in a location where people spend their free time. The location also places demands on the design of the building: it should represent the business concept and fit nicely into the surrounding scenery.
- Pay attention to the atmosphere. You want to create the most stunning atmosphere that will keep your customers coming and also spreading the word.
- Appreciate your people. Don’t cut corners when designing the facilities for your employees. After all, they are the ones who will deliver on your brand promise every single day.
- Create a comfortable working space for your customers. Consider adding built-in sockets and providing free Wi-Fi.
- Share your values. People will find more reasons to like your business if they know you a bit better. Let your unique business concept and values show in your premises and services.