Seth Powers Photography

Seth Powers Photography

Shanghai, CN


SeeSaw Coffee Huarun / TAKESHI HOSAKA architects

Seesaw coffee is a store that has started in Shanghai. A new store was to be designed on the third floor of a shopping mall following its renovation. The shopping mall stands at a very busy intersection. Since Starbucks Reserve was located on the first floor, it was important to maintain originality in terms of a coffee chain that originated in local Shanghai. The designer focused on the idea of coffee beans native to China and providing a cozy and friendly atmosphere, targeting youngsters. Every detail was important including the fact that even the clerk had to be a barista. The store aimed at creating a relaxing space that incorporated a feeling of being outdoors while inside a shopping mall, and expressed the efforts it took in the production of beans in China.

On the ceiling, stainless steel mirrors of different sizes, large, medium and small, were placed imitating the shape of coffee beans, such that the movement of cars at the intersection, the constant flow of people and of bicycles were drawn into the store invoking a pleasant outdoor experience. The mirror also reflects the appearance of a barista working inside the store, the young and vibrant interior and the darkly lit lighting creating a unique atmosphere.

In order to arrive at the concept, it was important to thoroughly ponder over the idea of a place to drink coffee in this setting, since the inside of the store, closed on the third Floor by fixed glass could easily become a “closed uniform space” and a tasteless space that would not move and become stagnant. In China, as we all know, the traffic of people, bicycles and cars is in abundance and the city is lively with everyone, and the whole city is “moving”. Therefore, by using the idea of coffee beans and mirrors together, not only the exterior view is reflected in the mirror, but also the daily scenes where people, cars and bicycles constantly move in the mirror. It is reflected in the eyes of the people with a freshness that is different from the familiar scenery they see around.

The desire of the founders who value the production of coffee beans in China has been expressed by using the image of the coffee beans in the mirrors and the coffee tables.

From dusk, coffee beans emerge from the darkly lit store, captivating the interest of people waiting in the traffic and at the intersection. In addition, there is a space behind the pillars where one can take off their shoes, acting as a retreat for adults.

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Status: Built
Location: Shanghai, CN
Firm Role: Photography
Additional Credits: Interior Design: TAKESHI HOSAKA architects