Sense Café Beijing by RSAA/Büro Ziyu Zhuang

Integrate a contemporary space attribute into the traditional Chinese courtyard

Project Specs


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Appreciation towards RSAA/Büro Ziyu Zhuang for providing the following description:


Cooperated with Nestlé China, RSAA/ Büro Ziyu Zhuang has designed Sense Café Beijing, whose brand design is done by Ogilvy Beijing. The project is open in No.27 Neiwubu Street from 27th April to 5th May, which is designed to present a brand-new interpretation of the coffee experience and traditional Chinese courtyard.

▼院内景象,in the courtyard  ©苏圣亮


Beijing is remolded here. Siheyuan (traditional Chinese courtyard in Beijing) is a spatial metaphor of the city, as urban movements flow through the golden drapes and soft spaces in the courtyard, boundaries are broken here.

▼项目模型动态展示,dynamic presentation of the project model  ©奥美北京


The design breaks through a series of boundaries of the ancient city, leading people through the streets of the city and into a series of images interwoven with ancient impressions and Contemporary Perceptions. Just as coffee gives people different levels of sensory experience, through the drinks, visitors can have a constant dialogue with the city.

▼装置位于四合院内,场地中的树被保留,a traditional Chinese courtyard as the site and the tree was preserved  ©苏圣亮

▼设计突破了古老城市的一系列边界关系,the design breaks through a series of boundaries of the ancient city  ©RSAA/庄子玉工作室

▼金属幕帘细部,details of the metal mesh  ©苏圣亮

▼提高帘下空间的最高点以保留北屋门口的竹林,a dome emphasizes the northern room and preserves the bamboo  ©苏圣亮


It is a difficult proposition to integrate a contemporary space attribute into the traditional Chinese courtyard. According to the traditional Chinese courtyard pattern, whether its relationship derived from the structural system, its form, as well as itself as a prototype, what can be extended is actually very limited.

▼室外的聚集空间,gathering space in the courtyard  ©苏圣亮

▼装置由室外引入到室内,installation fuses from the courtyard to the interior space  ©苏圣亮

▼四合院室内的讲演空间,interior lecture space  ©苏圣亮

▼四合院室内的展示空间,interior exhibition space  ©苏圣亮


Inside the square courtyards, the image of mobility creates cavities and a series of soft spaces through metal curtains, which can be seen as the boundary relationships of the ancient city. They collide with the original courtyard, inviting people to join the city’s conversation with coffee, savoring Beijing’s past and future. Coffee can tell historical and cultural stories, so do the cafe.

▼夜景,night view  ©尚逐前沿(北京)灯光艺术设计有限公司


In this reconstruction, the design team put a very contemporary image and spatial prototype into the courtyard through a “soft approach”. In this way, the design created a kind of overlap with its original courtyard both from virtual and real space. This combination applied a new way of perceiving and experiencing the courtyard space.

▼项目模型,model of the project  ©RSAA/庄子玉工作室

▼项目结构组成示意图,structure axon  ©RSAA/庄子玉工作室

▼概念生成分析图,concept analysis axon diagram  ©RSAA/庄子玉工作室

▼平面图,floor plan  ©RSAA/庄子玉工作室

▼剖面图,sections  ©RSAA/庄子玉工作室

▼项目宣传视频,promotion video  ©奥美北京

建筑设计:Fabian Wieser、星梦钊

Project Category: Traditional building renovation
Floor Area:530㎡
Design Time: 2019
Owner Unit: Nestlé China
Design Team: RSAA/ Büro Ziyu Zhuang
Principal Designer: Ziyu Zhuang, Na Li
Architectural Design: Fabian Wieser, Mengzhao Xing
Interior Design: Xin Zhao, Xinru Wang, Wei Cai, Zhuliang Ding
Graphic Design: Ogilvy Beijing
Lighting Consultant: Frontera Lighting Design (Beijing)
Structure Consultant: Qiguo Sun
Construction Team:Beijing Jiemei Tiancheng Cultural Communication Co., Ltd.
Photographer: Shengliang Su

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