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Café Nescafe
Michele Saee Studio

Changing the flow of fast food in a flexible new chain

© Marvin Rand

For more photos click on 'photos & drawings' above.

To see the people and products behind this project click on 'people & products.'

A series of cafes for Nestle, the first of which is located in Paris, confront the need for adaptability without resorting to standardization. Eschewing the "rubber stamp" quality of most commercial chains, the architects attempted to break out of a system where architecture plays second to logos on napkins. To this end, they developed a flexible system composed of three variables: the wrapping skin, the graphic ribbon, and the coffee bar interface.

Conceived as an interactive device ready to fluctuate and accommodate, the skin is always in continuous flux. It engages the body by folding into a bench, unfolding into a counter, following the movement of the body, and bending and curving to deflect flow while simultaneously reflecting light.

The ribbon, or main graphic interface, displays the required branding images of the product, in lieu of framed posters on a wall. This architectural device not only absorbs the graphic layers but also simultaneously defines zones. In the same manner as the skin, it follows and redirects the flows of the café experience.

The coffee bar serves as the main physical interface between the product and the consumer. Unlike the other two variables, it has a definite edge, a boundary dividing specific zones. The bar fluctuates and bends according to the activities on its edge: selection, payment, waiting, receiving, adjusting, and consuming. As a container, display, interface, and boundary, this feature changes form according t0 the specificities of localized activity. Thus, with components that react, deflect, fluctuate, and engage the body and site, Café Nescafe presents a dynamic new environment for fast food.

Formal name of Project:
Café Nescafe


Gross square footage:
2,000 sq. ft.

Néstlé Corporation

Michele Saee Studio
5366 Wilshire Blvd. #B
L.A., CA 90036


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