Born in a Hutong alley, BigSmall Coffee had developed a strong affinity to the historic fabric of Beijing. The brand has always pride itself of its Beijing-ness in the DNA. After losing its previous Hutong location, BigSmall was still determined to stay in the historic core. BigSmall found its new home in Beiluoguxiang, a mostly residential neighborhood composed of traditional courtyard housing, school, government compound, and multi-level residential housing. Located on the ground floor of a seven-story residential building, BigSmall Coffee aims to deepen its root in the community by becoming its living room and common social space.
▼门廊的户外座椅区，outdoor seating in portico ©金伟琦
As the second time collaboration between designRESERVE and BigSmall, the design team dug deeper into BigSmall’s brand culture of being open, fun, and community centered. An idea of community “recreation center” was created for the 180 sqm of indoor and outdoor space accommodating four interrelated functions: a coffee shop during daytime, a bar at night, a mini gallery free for young artists, and a garden accessible to general public.
▼有固定脚踏车和乒乓球台的户外康乐区域，outdoor recreation area with stationary-bike and pingpang table ©金伟琦
The mixed-use day to night programming transforms a coffee shop into a cultural domain, where both instant gatherings and planned events could be held and enjoyed by different groups of citizens. 120 sqm of outdoor garden, born from a parking lot, works as an extension of the interior to reinforce the idea of a community “recreation center”. Shared by apartment tenants, hutong neighbors and visitors, the project becomes an interactive social hub.
▼从上方看户外康乐区域，outdoor recreation area from top ©金伟琦
▼门廊的户外吧台，outdoor counter in portico ©金伟琦
▼门廊的细节，details in portico ©金伟琦
▼从起居空间看向入口，view the entrance from the living space ©金伟琦
▼起居室局部以及相连接的“太小地方”画廊，corner of livingroom connected with Too Small Place gallery ©金伟琦
▼从入口看起居室和吧台区域，overall view of livingroom and bar counter from entrance ©金伟琦
The interior of the community “recreation center” consists three parts, living room, bar area, and gallery. Custom designed furniture made of steel tube and tubular upholstery encircles the living room to create an intimate atmosphere. The bar area integrates familiar elements often seen on the streets of Beijing, but re-invented: bulletin boards posting menus and event announcements highlight the back wall; a rotating merchandize shelf inspired by mobile magazine kiosk; a window selling coffee and draft beer serving the garden. A semi-circular shaped wall bridges between living room and gallery inside which restroom is hidden. A monogram-like graphic is painted on the outside gallery wall facing the garden, identifying the unique program of the room as a refuge for independent creativities.
▼室内空间概览 ，interior space overview ©金伟琦
▼能看到室外场地和胡同街道的社区起居室，community livingroom with view to outdoor patio and hutong ©金伟琦
▼与展示和零售功能结合的吧台，bar counter integrated with display and retail ©金伟琦
The adjacent outdoor area was once a dilapidated parking lot for the apartment building. designRESERVE takes the opportunity to turn the lot into a lively community garden. With reference to a skating park, the garden is constructed with ramps, seating, railing, and planters of fluid shapes. A set of custom stationary bikes with coffee holders and a ping-pong table are installed in the middle of the garden surrounded by trees and hedges. These facilities have become a favorite to many local residents and visitors for daily exercise and entertainment, just like in many other parks in Beijing.
▼户外空间俯瞰，overlook at outdoor area ©金伟琦
▼从街道入口看正面，front view from street entrance ©金伟琦
▼从户外区域看正面，front view from outdoor area ©金伟琦
The project also explores fresh takes on traditional materials. For example, the interior wall is partially covered with waxed brown paper, often used for food-wrapping. It is silk-screened with brand pattern designed by Meat Studio. Another re-invented use is amber-colored glazed tiles. Traditionally this hand-made material was only allowed for the roofs of royal palaces and temples in Beijing. But in contemporary Beijing in BigSmall, it is seen on the walls of bar counter and façade. The tiles are arranged in a vertical pattern forming a corrugated surface that reflect and diffuse a warm golden tone into the atmosphere, a welcoming and energetic setting for everyday life in an ever changing city.
▼户外景观细节，outdoor landscape detail ©金伟琦
▼项目位置，project location ©余留地
▼正立面图纸，front elevation drawing ©余留地
▼立面/剖面图纸，elevation and section drawings ©余留地
合作方：平面视觉 / 窦誉笙
Project Team：Lydia Song, Dan Wei, Feng Yue, Lei Song, Berlin Huang
Client：BigSmall Food & Beverage Co.
Location：Port Apartment, No.12, Qianfuxiang Hutong, Dongcheng District, Beijing
Project Type：Architectural Renovation/Landscape Design
Area：indoor area 65 sq.m. outdoor area 120 sq.m.
Collaborator：Graphic design／Meat Studio