The historic Zhang Yuan garden in Shanghai is now home to the latest Blue Bottle Coffee café. Locally based architecture firm Neri&Hu designed the new 1,880-square-foot location to resemble a traditional Shikumen residence that “captures the spirit of the local urban fabric and weaves a narrative journey for both locals and visitors to appreciate,” Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu, the studio’s founders, say.
Existing exterior brickwork and original doors and windows were retained along with an atrium, which is now linked to the street via an elongated portal reminiscent of Shanghai’s alleyways. In an effort to contrast the existing architecture’s heavy material palette, Neri&Hu examined the structure and its joinery to ensure new interventions were as light as possible. The result is a stainless steel pavilion lined with corrugated and perforated panels alongside metal mesh, cement, and glass.
Further, structural columns were updated with metal rods, while small platforms serve as light rails, side tables, benches, and displays. Walnut and recycled brick also offset the palette and imbue a bit of warmth. In addition to new furnishings, traditional furniture was upcycled and reimagined to complement the aesthetic of the Blue Bottle café while also showing its age—an apt embodiment of the coffee shop’s theme.