Cafe 27 in Beijing, a devoted organic eatery, received a green makeover in more ways than one. Designers at Four O Nine transformed the previously drab building into a space with multi-layered facades and plenty of greenery adorning the walls. The plant life helps brighten up the cafe while pumping out fresh oxygen for visitors. These features, in addition to the greenhouse shape of the restaurant, create a closeness between patrons and the origins of the food on their plates.
The project is a retrofit of an existing glass greenhouse structure, formerly used for wedding ceremonies, into a new flagship for the launch of the Cafe 27 brand. It was important to convey Cafe 27’s high standard for fresh, healthy and quality ingredients in their offerings through the architecture. As a result the new cafe was conceived as an inside-out garden pavilion; wherein all the elements of a garden pavilion were placed inside a passively controlled greenhouse that connects with its surroundings.
Shanghai office Four O Nine has converted a glass building in Beijing into a cafe, adding walls of plants to purify polluted air. A number of elements simultaneously defined the architectural expression and interior environmental experience. A green-wall passively purifies Beijing’s polluted air as it makes its way inside. A massive ceramic bar with pastry display anchors the interior seating arrangement. Combined with the terrazzo flooring, it creates a thermal mass that gradually and passively heats the space in the winter. In the summer the exterior wood trellis shades the glass structure reducing undesirable heat gain, while diffusing direct sunlight to create a thermally comfortable and optically dramatic space inside. Completing the interior, a pixilated hut-like elevation clad in Ash batons provides acoustic baffling while housing a pastry kitchen (visible through a large glass pane), the mechanical system, the public restrooms and dry storage. Finally, the interior and exterior are connected through a series pivoting doors further blurring the boundary between the indoor and outdoor experience of the cafe.
These ecologically sound devices not only reduced the carbon footprint of the cafe but also enhanced the experience of being in a garden-like interior. All the while the shed-like form clad in natural materials with hanging gardens provides a strong identity for the Cafe 27 flagship.