▼店面与胡同街区，storefront and Hutong
The project is located in the eastern quarter of Qianmen, historically the earliest commercial streets of Beijing, with adjacency to Tiananmen Square and the city’s historic axis. As part of the “Neighborhood Revival” plan, BigSmall Coffee was brought in by local redevelopment agency to become an anchor tenant to what will be a collection of creative businesses re-shaping contemporary urban life of this historic area. Accessible from main street, the 10 square meter compact space works as a gateway to a newly upgraded Hutong network, consisting of local residences and numerous courtyard houses managed by Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group.
▼印有咖啡餐单的卷帘门及咖啡操作区概览，overview of the roller shutter door painted with menu and coffee operation zone
The design’s challenge is to transform the miniature space into an iconic storefront and an active neighborhood “living room”.
The narrow space accommodates two programs, specialty coffee shop during daytime, and craft gin bar at night. The shift in program is expressed through a mechanism on the exterior façade. Made of stainless steel and brass plates, a semicircular clock-like installation forms the upper part of the façade. During daytime, the “clock hand” carrying the coffee shop logo moves along a programmed track. At dusk, the logo plate will eclipse behind the signage of the gin bar, indicating the change of activity. Symbolizing celestial motion, the animated storefront creates a time-measure for the daily life of the community.
▼由不锈钢和铜板制作，半圆形“表盘”覆盖了入口上方的墙壁，made of stainless steel and brass plates, a semicircular clock-like installation forms the upper part of the façade
The original flat roof was replaced by arched skylights, bringing in abundant natural light into the north-facing interior, transforming the once gloomy room into an outdoor-like space. The roofline of the adjacent courtyard building is visible through the skylights, evoking a sense of being in a traditional courtyard. Sharing the same materials of stainless steel and brass, the entire bar is welded together with the façade, becoming one structurally and visually. The gloss and precision of metal is contrasted with the roughness of the original timber beams and cement wall. This material composition signifies dramatic changes happening in this historic Beijing neighborhood.
▼狭长的室内平面被设计紧凑的吧台分隔成操作区和客座区，the narrow interior space is divided into operating area and seating area by a compact bar
▼透过天窗可以看到南侧的老宅屋脊，也使人仿佛置身庭院之中，the roofline of the adjacent courtyard building is visible through the skylights, evoking a sense of being in a traditional courtyard
▼改造后的玻璃弧形天窗，curved glass skylight after renovation
Understanding BigSmall’s brand philosophy and roots in urban culture, designRESERVE hopes to build a “hideout” for Beijing’s much suppressed “Street Art”. Spanning two walls is a mural painted by an invited local artist. The mural’s vibrant colors and playful shapes are visible to the street, adding much needed color and energy to Beijing’s repetitive grey streetscape. Opposite the mural is a large steel roll-up gate painted with coffee menu in the style of street fliers commonly seen in Chinese cities. Sitting at the bar, wedged between the mural and the steel roll-up gate, is as if one is sitting in a narrow pedestrian ally, a disappearing Hutong in the everchanging city.
▼客座区的墙面由艺术家绘制的壁画所覆盖，walls around seating area are covered by a mural
At dusk, the roll-up gate is lifted, revealing liquor shelves made of cantilevered acrylic panels and custom brass parts. Rows of glass gin bottles are set against circular mirrors and rough-textured plaster. Warm light project through the transparent shelves, making them planes of light which then reflects off surrounding glass, mirrors and metals. The symphony of light and reflection give the room a mysterious grotto-like quality, provoking curiosity in passing pedestrians.
▼夜晚，卷帘门向上收起，显露出背后由亚克力板和铜杆构成的酒架，at dusk, the roll-up gate is lifted, revealing liquor shelves made of cantilevered acrylic panels and custom brass parts
▼映衬着壁画的圆形镜子与酒架，circular mirrors and gin shelf reflecting the mural
▼卷帘门立面图，roller shutter door elevation
Project Title: BigSmall Coffee Qianmen
Client: BigSmall Coffee
Project Location: No.60 Xixinglong Street, Beijing，China
Project Type: Architectural Renovation / Coffee/Gin Bar
Gross Area: 10 Sqm
Completed Year：2018. 11
Project Architect: designRESERVE
Design Team: Lydia Song, Feng Yue, Dan Wei, Jill Pu, Berlin Huang
Graphic Design: Meat Studio
Mural Artist: Eddie Shen
Photographer: Boris Shiu
Construction：Zhang Songhua Team, Tian Qingchun Team