From the first coffee houses of Georgian London to the café society of Paris in the 1920s, coffee has always been the epicentre of the creative community, and the link between good coffee and creative excellence is one that has never been stronger. Coffee shops are the hub of the community, they are a meeting place for creative minds, a forum for lively discussion, a watering hole for ideas and a physical space to house even the most conceptual of businesses . Great coffee now calls for even more impressive spaces, whether located in an art museum, an arcade, a reclaimed cargo shipping container or even your own street corner, coffees greatest spaces are those that invite human interaction, inspire ideation and create memories through good design.
Giving new meaning to the phrase ‘coffee table book’, Robert Schneider’s Coffee Culture delivers design inspiration that no coffee lover can resist. An immersive tour of thirty-three of America’s most design conscious coffee shops, Coffee Culture captures the feel and personality of each space and recognizes not just the impact of the physical shop itself, but its reach across entire networks and neighbourhoods. This is not merely an exercise in showcasing design, but a joyous celebration of the life enhancing power of good design in our everyday spaces.
A high-energy journey from Los Angeles to New York, Portland to Seattle, Schneider takes in the very best of America’s carefully crafted coffee shops. In Los Angeles we encounter Blacktop Coffee, a minimalist space in a old warehouse building, where designer Kellie Patry has created a pare-down homage to the American open road, while in Brooklyn we are invited to Blue Bottle Coffee, probably the only coffee shop in New York inspired by Proust’s cork-lined Parisian writing room.
Through crisp and captivating photography, we discover the industrial open spaces of Chicago’s Intelligentista Coffee, where exposed brick, conduits and ductwork bring the character of the buildings’ 150 year old history to life while encouraging community interaction through a raw steel and walnut communal table that lines the space. In Denver we meet the Calcutta marble walls of Little Owl Coffee, which juxtaposes contemporary design with the rich history of the adjacent Sugar Building, which has been a Denver icon since 1906. While these spaces are captured during moments of statis, it is inspiring to image these meticulously designed spaces teaming with life and bustling with the hallmark traffic of the coffee shop.
Each of the 33 coffee shops curated by Schneider are elevated from the common and the ordinary by their detailed and deliberate attention to design. Celebrating the designs that interweave art, architecture, design and historic perseveration, Coffee Culture is a homage to the spaces of integrity, soul and, of course, a good cup of coffee.