Blue Bottle Coffee

San Francisco, CA

Coffee is a Multi-Sensory Experience

For its new San Francisco café, global purveyor of premium coffee Blue Bottle, sought to bring their vision of hospitality to life. The new location creates a delightful destination for guests that celebrates the hero of the experience, the coffee itself.

Inspired by the aesthetic simplicity of Japanese tea houses and the clean lines of the Blue Bottle brand, the new café is also influenced by the magic quality of light in San Francisco. 

From the warmth of the materials to the soft glow of the lighting, the design is meant to evoke the feeling of fog rolling in from different perspectives. Rose copper panels reveal and conceal mechanical elements in the ceiling, highlight merchandise, and create privacy between café seating and the busy street.

IA's team also supported with visual merchandising and product presentation down to the branded packaging of granola. For the new mobile pick-up service, the IA and Blue Bottle teams collaborated to develop a set of trays with sliding bars that cleverly allow customization for order size. Intuitive navigation relies on signals rather than signs.

Blue Bottle sees each new café as an opportunity to improve on the last one and take advantage of unique existing conditions. An unexpected application of materials and a contemporary palette elevate those conditions, harmonizing site history with an enhanced visual and tactile experience heightened by a dash of fun.

Minimal structural modification preserves site integrity and supports sustainability, allowing for an easy transition when Blue Bottle’s tenancy is over. Taupe concrete tiles, Krion counters, and maple millwork further support the brand's environmental stewardship.

Coffee engages all the senses, which is why IA fine-tuned the experience of sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste to complement the hero of the experience, the coffee itself. Experience attributes were inspired by legibility, utility, novelty, peace, inspiration, satisfaction, and belonging.

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