Blue Bottle Coffee Seongsu Cafe is a minimalist coffee shop located in Seoul, South Korea, designed by Schemata Architects. In the past, the area was clustered with closed factories, but now it is rapidly turning into a trendy spot after young artists started moving in. Recently, there are an increasing number of stylish stores in this neighborhood. Due to a high concentration of cafes, Seongsu is becoming a major mecca for cafe in Seoul. Blue Bottle Coffee Seongsu Store, combined with the headquarter and roastery, is Blue Bottle Coffee’s first store in Korea opened in this area.
The building accommodating the store is situated along a major road leading to the city center of Seoul. It is a four-story building with a basement and the store occupies three floors from the basement to the second floor, using the basement as a cafe, the first floor as a roastery and a coffee beans storage room, and the second floor as an office. One can see the entire coffee preparation process from bringing in green coffee beans to roasting to brewing in this building. The facility also accommodates spaces for specific purposes including cupping (the process of observing the tastes and aromas of coffee) and barista training and is expected to serve as the base of BBC’s store development expected in Korea from now on.
The main reason for locating a cafe in the basement is that the first floor faces a major road with heavy traffic and the view from inside is not very pleasant, in addition to the fact that the basement has high ceilings. Part of the first floor slab was punched out to create a cafe with a double height ceiling in the basement. The cafe in the basement provides a calm and peaceful space away from the bustle on the ground. Taking advantage of the fact that stainless steel is less expensive in Korea than in Japan, we used stainless steel to make various elements including side walls of counters, stairs, handrails, and doors, all of which we usually don’t make out of stainless steel in Japan. In addition, bricks are a historic construction material used to build many buildings in Seongsu and this building is also finished with brick tiles. As a mark of respect for the history, we decided to use the material also inside the building and made some pieces of furniture out of bricks.
Photography by Takumi Ota
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