March 28, 2019

SODA Architects Brew Up Nescafé Dolce Gusto’s First Shanghai Concept Store

When Nestlé approached SODA Architects with the idea of inaugurating a collection of concept stores for its Nescafé Dolce Gusto brand, lead designers Yuan Jiang and Chen Song knew they needed something a little more innovative than just a standard coffee shop on busy Huaihai Road. “We hoped to create a new commercial space experience that combines digital content with physical space,” says Jiang, who knows a bit about space experience from his time at Ateliers Jean Nouvel. “We went back to the coffee capsules and used them as the starting point.”

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Cylindrical Corian monoliths serve as display stands. Photography by Chen Xiyu.

The team arranged 3,000 capsules to form modular stripes of color; an additional 1,000 white capsules conceal programmable LED lights that transform them into ersatz pixels. The result is a rainbow-bright hall of mirrors that looks far larger than its modest 430 square feet.

A full spectrum of coffee and tea products lines the walls. Photography by Chen Xiyu.

“We used full-height translucent glass to expand the interior space by reflection,” says Song, who learned about the power of glass at Pei Partnership Architects (Asia). “When the sun sets and the street is turning dark, virtual dynamic images replace common building materials on the shop’s façade, just like the scenery of future streets in “Blade Runner.” It’s quite a bright idea, indeed.

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Built-in acrylic drawers organize the pods by color and flavor. Photography by Chen Xiyu.

Mirrored walls add a dizzying sense of depth to the modest dimensions. Photography by Chen Xiyu.

Semi-transparent mirrored surfaces serve as multi-media projection screens. Photography by Chen Xiyu.

SODA Architects conceived the space as a “smart terminal” visitors can enter. Photography by Chen Xiyu.

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