Partially in response to the overuse of tactile materials in coffee house design—rusted metal, salvaged wood, etc.—Jensen Architects has created a Blue Bottle Coffee on Venice’s Abbot Kinney Boulevard that limits the look to its most elemental, abstract form.
The café, measuring a mere 620 square feet, centers around a cantilevered maple service counter, and behind it, a frosted LED light wall, whose brightness and color can alternate in response to the time of day. The blue currently on display was chosen by the firm to approximate the local sky. The remainder of the café—including exposed brick walls and timber rafters—are painted white, flattening perspective and drawing maximum attention to these elements.
A minimal, glossy white plane next to the rafters is cut with light slots, approximating the illumination coming through skylights behind and blurring the line between natural and artificial. “That’s minimalism for you,” said project architect Lincoln Lighthill. “You’ve got to get every detail right because there aren’t many of them.”