Perkins&Will Turns to Geometry for a Coffee Shop at Emily Carr University of Art + Design
It could have posed an interior quandary. A pavilion in the public square serving Emily Carr University of Art + Design complex in Vancouver, BC, all by Perkins&Will, is round in plan, the structure consisting of 10 petals of CNC-cut laminated timber clad in cherry-hued shingles (thus its nickname, Red Pavilion). But after Nemesis Coffee leased the site, its third in the city, all in creative hubs, and contacted Perkins&Will via an Instagram direct message, the unusual container’s 2,000-square-foot interiors began to take shape. The space had “always wanted to be a coffee house,” senior associate Rufina Wu begins. But the fit-out required finesse. “With our strongly sculptural building, the inside had to reference the architecture—and also complement it.”
The Perkins&Will interiors team acknowledged the unusual geometry with a feature element on the ceiling. Starting with a central oculus, fins of white fabric stretch outward toward the perimeter. LED strips spill warm illumination through the fins, which are made from a textile used for diffusing light on film sets. The effect is both “organic,” Wu notes, and calming and echoes the exterior petals.
Perkins&Will selected a muted palette for the materials, the architect continues, to create a vibe that is welcoming, especially on Vancouver’s frequent gray days. The choices of glass, stainless steel, and pale woods were also affected by pandemic supply-chain hiccups. The firm relied on a hometown fabricator for the curved birch-plywood paneling and a circular high table, its center containing a leafy green tree.
In between all the swooshes is a highly functional eatery. A stainless-steel bar slices through the middle of the plan, dividing the seating from the kitchen and service areas. Above, a continuous glass divider modulates from clear (for display cases) to reflective (concealing restrooms). “It reveals exactly what should be revealed,” Wu says, “and hides the rest.” For those wanting to be seen, the café opens onto an outdoor patio furnished with recycled-plastic chairs.
product sources from front
- Alex Bozikovic
- Andreu World
- best film service
- Blu Dot
- cft engineering
- coffee shop
- Ema Peter
- Emily Carr University of Art + Design
- goldray glass
- integral group
- Nemesis Coffee
- p&b engineering
- rempel bros
- tetherstone construction
- thinkl lighting studio
- uppercase architectural millwork and design
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