Pilot Coffee Roasters cafés by Williamson Williamson Inc.

Innovation through design – the symbiotic link between vranding and architecture

Project Specs

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由建筑事务所Williamson Williamson Inc.负责设计的Pilot Coffee Roasters咖啡馆新店将于今年秋天正式对外营业。该咖啡馆位于多伦多市中心地带的宏利中心(Manulife Centre)内,它的落成也标志着Williamson Williamson Inc.公司与Pilot Coffee Roasters品牌的第十次合作圆满成功。

Williamson Williamson Inc., a firm specializing in custom residential and commercial architecture, is proud to celebrate the opening of a new Pilot Coffee Roasters café in downtown Toronto’s Manulife Centre this fall, marking the firm’s 10th collaboration with its innovative client.


Pilot Coffee Roasters

Pilot Coffee Roasters注重店面的统一性,在理念上将售卖与生产和品牌相结合,这不仅为店面和品牌的迭代更新奠定了基础,更为Williamson Williamson的设计团队提供了将建筑设计与产品和消费相融合的机会。

With a focus on vertical integration, from direct trade through to the production cycle and branded cafés, Pilot Coffee Roasters growth model has laid the foundations for an iterative approach to design and branding, enabling Williamson Williamson to apply its expertise to both the production and consumption sides of the equation.

“Pilot的商业增长模式基于其成功的品牌理念和空间设计元素。这种模式可以被视为一种演化进程,”建筑事务所Williamson Williamson的创始合伙人Betsy Williamson解释道。“因此我们在设计每一个咖啡馆的时候,都尽可能地在其中融入最具创新性的想法和概念,以保证每个咖啡馆空间都是独一无二的。”

“Pilot’s business model embraces growth as an evolutionary process that builds upon and carries forward successful branding and design elements,” explains Betsy Williamson, a founding partner of the architectural firm. “Accordingly, each new Pilot space is distinct, which allows our firm to infuse fresh creativity into every project.”


Pilot Coffee Roasters咖啡中心
Pilot Coffee Roasters Hub

首个咖啡空间 | The journey begins

本品牌成立于2009年,于2013年正式更名为Pilot Coffee Roasters,致力于为加拿大的咖啡市场带去一系列具有教育意义的创新型互动式体验。2014年,Williamson Williamson接到委托,将多伦多东部的一个工业仓库改造成了先进的咖啡中心。该中心容纳着一个公共的咖啡试喝空间、一个大型的烘焙设备、一系列咖啡冷萃装置、一个咖啡实验室和一系列行政办公室等。

Founded in 2009, the client rebranded itself as Pilot Coffee Roasters in 2013, armed with a vision of bringing innovation, education and interactive experiences to the Canadian coffee market. The following year, Williamson Williamson was commissioned to transform an industrial warehouse in Toronto’s east end into a state-of-the-art hub of activity that would house a publicly accessible tasting bar, a roasting facility, cold brew production, a coffee lab and the company’s administrative offices.

▼咖啡中心二层外观,外立面采用与空间同长度的落地窗,exterior view of the second floor of the Pilot Coffee Roasters hub with full-length french windows

这个项目不仅让Williamson Williamson对后端操作——咖啡的生产制作和前端操作——咖啡的品尝和售卖都有了深刻的认识和体会,也为他们日后的咖啡馆设计提供了专业性知识。从那以后,Williamson Williamson为 Pilot Coffee Roasters所设计的所有咖啡馆都不仅极具特色和创新性,更能完全满足市场和客户的需求。

The opportunity to become involved in design on both the production and consumption sides of the business appealed to the firm’s commitment to being experts in all that they do. Knowledge of both front end and back end operations is essential to fully understanding the ethos of what a company is all about, which opens the door to creating something that is unique, innovative and responsive to both market and client needs.


“Our specialization in custom residential architecture is derived from an evolution of experience, and our association with Pilot has given us the freedom to apply that design thinking to commercial and production spaces,” says Williamson.

▼咖啡中心主入口立面,the main entrance facade of the Pilot Coffee Roasters hub


复古式的创新 | Retro-innovation

在极具工业感的外表皮下,Pilot Coffee Roasters咖啡中心内容纳着各种精致的空间。迈进入口大门的那一刻,人们就会看到一个弧线形的柜台。这个柜台由简单的白色橡木底座和混凝土台面构成,摒弃了杂乱的装饰和各种副产品,让人不禁联想起以前的纽约风格的咖啡馆。创新性的功能设计隐藏在柜台的简单性和开放性之下。得益于台面下方的一种名为Modbar的模块,人们可以将咖啡机的加热装置隐藏在柜台之下,不仅消除了顾客与咖啡师之间的视觉障碍,更促进了他们之间的交流与互动。

Contained within an industrial shell, the Pilot Coffee Roasters hub consists of a variety of finely-detailed spaces. Upon entry, a curved concrete counter with a white oak base conjures up images of a New York-style café of yesteryear, devoid of clutter and biproducts of the 21st century mass consumption model. Its simplicity and openness conceal an array of innovative design features thanks to an under-counter Modbar module that pushes espresso machine boilers below the counter, eliminating physical barriers between the customer and barista and encouraging interaction.


“Attaining a balance between warmth and innovation was an integral part of creating their branded market presence,” notes Williamson. “The minimalism of the design creates a highly efficient and welcoming production space by hiding the minutia of the service line.”

▼咖啡中心一层入口处的吧台,弯曲的造型由简单的白色橡木底座和混凝土台面构成,the curved concrete counter with a white oak base at the entrance of the Pilot Coffee Roasters hub

▼咖啡中心一层的吧台空间和公共品尝室,the bar space and the public tasting room on the first floor of the Pilot Coffee Roasters hub

▼咖啡中心一层的原料储存空间,the storage space on the first floor of the Pilot Coffee Roasters hub


▼咖啡中心的无柱式二层行政办公空间,采用明黄色的桁架结构和波纹金属板屋面,the column free administrative second floor space with yellow hangers and the corrugated metal deck

▼二层的员工午餐室,享有很好的景观视野和采光,通过玻璃滑动门与其他空间相连,the Staff Lunchroom with a good view and natural light, connecting to other interior spaces by the sliding glass door

▼二层的员工午餐室,钢制的斜撑支撑着由波纹金属板构成的二层屋顶板,the Staff Lunchroom, steel trusses support the corrugated metal deck

▼二层的员工午餐室局部,墙上铺设着绿色的像素化瓷砖,the Staff Lunchroom with the wall covered with pixelated green tiles

With the ground space fully occupied by production operations, the decision was made to bridge above it, allowing for a column free addition to house the company’s administrative offices. The structure consists of a corrugated metal deck supported by a steel truss and hangers painted in Pilot Yellow to highlight the construction elements and ensure a bright environment. The Administrative Office forms the core of the upper level, serving as a hub of interaction and creativity. The space’s sliding glass doors connect to a series of rooms featuring external views, including an Executive Office and Flex Space lined with white oak and light grey painted surfaces. The administrative level also houses Pilot’s Cupping Room, designed for coffee tastings and meetings in a space highlighted by white oak paneling, a custom conference table, a television and a kitchenette. The Staff Lunchroom, completing the upper level spaces, features pixelated green tiles that mimic Pilot’s signature living wall concept.

▼二层行政办公区室内,设有木制隔墙,interior view of the administrative area on the second floor with wooden partitions

▼二层空间局部,partial interior view of the second floor

▼咖啡中心夜景,night view of the Pilot Coffee Roasters hub


Pilot Coffee Roasters咖啡馆多路多联合车站店
Pilot Coffee Roasters café in Toronto’s Union Station

明显的一致性 | Distinct consistency

继咖啡中心项目之后,Pilot Coffee Roasters和Williamson Williamson又进行了一系列后续的合作。在之后的咖啡馆的设计中,Williamson Williamson一方面沿用了现有的设计元素,另一方面在空间中加入灵活性设计和细节丰富的材料,打造出了一系列既统一又独具特色的现代咖啡空间。

As part of a brand-specific design approach, subsequent collaborations between Pilot Coffee Roasters and Williamson Williamson have drawn upon kernels of existing design elements, while infusing flexible new solutions and detail-rich materiality into tactile modern spaces with distinct characters.

▼Pilot Coffee Roasters咖啡馆多路多联合车站店外观,采用纸飞机造型的屋顶,exterior view of the Pilot Coffee Roasters café in Toronto’s Union Station with the roof in the paper airplane motif


Pilot’s ‘Boomerang’ location in Toronto’s Union Station unveiled a 16-linear-foot mobile, self-contained espresso counter that has subsequently found its way, in a variety of forms, into the service lines of all Pilot cafés. Creating an enclosure for the mobile counter, Williamson Williamson introduced a ‘paper airplane’ motif in the design solution, consisting of a painted steel bent plate framework. A testament to the symbiotic nature of the design process, the client would adapt Williamson Williamson’s airplane motif as a logo and core component of their marketing, infusing it into the patterning of their packaging, graphics and coffee cups. With modifications of colour and size, the paper airplane motif has expanded from marketing materials to physical structures and design details in the company’s brick and mortar spaces, including a suspended ceiling plane in Pilot’s Ossington location.

▼联合车站店局部,拥有一个16英尺长的移动式独立柜台,the café with a 16-linear-foot mobile, self-contained espresso counter

▼联合车站店细节,details of the Pilot Coffee Roasters café in Toronto’s Union Station


Pilot Coffee Roasters咖啡馆英国奥盛顿道店
Pilot Coffee Roasters café in Ossington

品牌logo的实体化 | Brick and mortar branding

2017年,Pilot Coffee Roasters在多伦多金融区的第一加拿大广场(First Canadian Place)开设了第一家品牌店。该店在原先的设计元素和色调的基础上,又加入了新的元素。弧线形的柜台采用竖向板条状的白橡木基座。设备被隐藏在了台面以下,从而在台面上方创造出一个基本没有视线遮挡的空间,促进了顾客与咖啡师之间的交流互动。亮黄色的金属折板被用作展架的搁板和5英尺宽的悬臂式桌面,作为品牌纸飞机logo的变形。此外,咖啡馆还采用了绿植墙面和悬吊式花盆,黄金葛、蔓绿绒和一系列蕨类植物散布在空间中,营造出一种充满绿意的空间氛围。

▼Pilot Coffee Roasters咖啡馆英国奥盛顿道店外观,exterior view of the Pilot Coffee Roasters café in Ossington

In 2017, Pilot Coffee Roasters opened its first branded café in First Canadian Place in Toronto’s Financial District, carrying forward design elements of an evolving brand and distinctive palette. Drawing upon elements of earlier designs, the sinuous tasting bar with its slatted white oak base conceals equipment and creates pockets of open spaces for customer/barista interactions. Folded metal accent pieces, painted in Pilot Yellow, were extracted from the airplane motif and applied to the new location’s shelving and counters, including a five-foot cantilevered Airplane Bar. Breathing life into the new space, robust panels of living wall, first applied in Pilot’s Wagstaff hub, feature blooms of Plumosa Fern, Golden Pothos and Moon Philodendron.

▼英国奥盛顿道店外观,玻璃上贴有纸飞机的图案,exterior view of the café with an airplane image on the glass facade

▼英国奥盛顿道店室内,弧线形的柜台采用竖向板条状的白橡木基座,interior view of the café with the sinuous tasting bar with its slatted white oak base


“Aesthetically, we have always been on the same page, focusing on a primary concept to design beautiful and comfortable spaces that evoke a natural connection between the product and the feeling it provides you with when you are there,” explains Williamson. “The palette has evolved with each new project, infusing light and energy into the spaces through a series of materials and finishes, including white oak, crisp colours, living walls and the paper airplane motif.”

▼英国奥盛顿道店室内局部,设有绿植墙,partial interior view of the café with living walls

▼英国奥盛顿道店室内局部,亮黄色的金属折板被用作展架的搁板和5英尺宽的悬臂式桌面,partial interior view of the café, the folded metal accent pieces painted in yellow are applied to the shelving and counters, including a five-foot cantilevered Airplane Bar

▼金属折板构造细节,details of the folded metal accent pieces


Pilot Coffee Roasters咖啡馆多伦多宏利中心店
Pilot Coffee Roasters café in downtown Toronto’s Manulife Centre

品牌和设计的渐进过程 | A crescendo of branding and design


As the brand influences the architecture, the architecture influences the brand, creating aesthetic consistency for Pilot locations within a series of very different spaces. The Manulife Centre location represents the most evolutionary point of that process to date, with sophisticated refinements to branded design elements.

▼Pilot Coffee Roasters咖啡馆多伦多宏利中心店外观,exterior view of the Pilot Coffee Roasters café in downtown Toronto’s Manulife Centre

本咖啡馆延续了Pilot咖啡店以往的风格,既与Williamson Williamson之前为Pilot所设计的咖啡馆保持着极高的一致性,又有自己的特色。它对品牌的标志性设计元素进行了一系列精细的改进,竖向板条打造而成的外立面不仅模拟了纸飞机的折叠形式,还在表面上绘制着抽象化的纸飞机图案。当外立面处于折叠状态的时候,咖啡空间暴露在人们的视野中;而当外立面处于平面展开的状态时,随着人们的移动,立面便会显现出一个动态的飞机图案。座椅与退台式的木制构件相结合,以应对商场中往来的大量人流。同时,建筑师还在室内植入了一系列绿植,彰显了Pilot品牌对环保的重视。当然,原有的设计元素也是该咖啡馆设计必不可少的一部分,如白色的空间色调和金属的空间细节等。

▼立面图案解析图,diagram of the facade pattern

▼竖向板条打造而成的外立面上绘制着抽象化的纸飞机图案,an enclosure of vertical slats, painted in patterns that mimic an unfolded paper airplane unfolds to open the cafe

The new cafe in Toronto’s Manulife Centre builds on the brand elements that Williamson Williamson developed in Pilot’s early days. An enclosure of vertical slats, painted in patterns that mimic an unfolded paper airplane unfolds to open the cafe. When closed, the changing pattern is revealed as one moves around the space. Stadium seating is integrated into the millwork enclosure for the first time, responding to the busy foot traffic always present in the mall. As always, natural green elements are present, speaking to the brand’s commitment to environmentally sound practices. Kernels of previous projects have been adopted, integrated and resized, including staples of white oak, metal detailing and living, breathing green walls.

▼多伦多宏利中心店外观,座椅与退台式的木制构件相结合,exterior view of the café, stadium seating is integrated into the millwork enclosure

▼木制退台式座椅与绿植相结合,the wooden stadium seating is integrated with the natural green elements

▼板条立面细节,details of the enclosure of vertical slats


“We approach every project by looking beyond the brief to envision the human interaction that is going to take place in a space,” explains Williamson. “The atmosphere of the Pilot spaces has become as important as the quality of their coffee, and our iterative approach has provided brand consistency that is easily adaptable to the neighbourhood character of each new location.”

▼空间细节,space details


Pilot Coffee Roasters咖啡馆其他店面
Pilot Coffee Roasters café in other locations

▼其他店面一外观,玻璃立面上绘制了象征着纸飞机的三角形图案,exterior view of the café 1, painting the triangles standing for the paper airplane on the glass facade

▼其他店面一室内概览,interior overview of the café 1

▼其他店面一室内局部,设置绿植,partial interior view of the café 1 with plants

▼其他店面一天花板细节,悬挂着象征着纸飞机的三角形面板,ceiling details with triangular panels standing for the paper airplane

▼其他店面二外观,玻璃立面上绘制了纸飞机的轮廓图案,exterior view of the café 2, painting the profile of the paper airplane on the glass facade

▼其他店面二室内概览,interior overview of the café 2

▼其他店面二室内细节,设置着悬吊式绿植和亮黄色墙瓦,interior details of the café 2 with hanging plants and yellow tiles

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