Bobby e-mailed me this article about D’espresso, an amusing (albeit disorienting) coffee shop recently opened in Manhattan. It’s hard to imagine that a coffee retailer could have distinctive or remarkable branding in the crowded universe of caffeinated bean purveyors. There’s the excessively exotic way to lure customers: “Oh yes, our LEED-certified beans are harvested in Antarctica by highly-trained seals.” Which promises to be a unique experience. But even without trained seals, you can visit a small shop designed by Nema Workshop, D’espresso, and approximate the unique sensation of walking on walls.
It’s an effect that doesn’t come cheap. The smoke and mirrors of this 500 square foot project consumed 500,000 dollars. The cafe’s owner wants to open numerous others, and promises that the next one will be upside down, which seems a little easier than a sideways coffee shop, because you’re only switching the floor and the ceiling (two out of six surfaces) instead of four out of six surfaces (since two of the walls in the sideways coffee shop are actually walls). My favorite detail of the project is the luminous glass ceiling and the pendant fixtures hanging perpendicular to the force of gravity.
So, uh… how does the coffee taste?