SMALL BATCH COFFEE COMPANY, MYHOTEL, BRIGHTON
Monday 05 Dec 2011

 

Award banner

Client brief:
Make the most of the chance to operate alongside the national boutique hotel brand 'myhotel' and breathe life into a unique site.

Combine the core coffee service with: an expanded food offer, syphon bar coffee experience, brewing equipment sales area, and coffee bean roasting and wholesale area.

Whilst staying with the spirit of the Small Batch identity, move the look forward and give the unit a unique sense of place.

Work with the 'myhotel' team and deliver the missing link in the hotels total USP for the discerning Brighton visitor.

Challenges & Inspiration:
It's all about the coffee. The myhotel site is the second coffee shop Chalk Architecture have delivered for the Small Batch Coffee Company. Following on from the concept for the Wilbury Road coffee shop in Hove, the essence of the 'coffee trade' as the big idea carries over with the emphasis on robust, honest materiality, along with a playful brand evolution.

The existing building context had to be grappled with: a distinctly linear aspect, a curvy glazed shop front taking up 50% of the external wall surface, a visually dominant, undulating rear wall and a shop level over a foot lower than the pavement. The architects wanted to catch the eye of a fast moving, large number of shoppers outside and encourage them into what has been generally perceived as a cafe for hotel guests.

Table and chair settings have become high stools and high tables, elevating peoples eye-line to a level relative to the street, the raised seating plane also makes the space feel like it has more bustle. Customers sit shoulder to shoulder when it's busy but the design allows them to comfortably watch the world go by outside.

Suspended glass shelves in the window, lit by LV down lights and dressed with glass coffee brewing equipment, add sparkle to the shop front. There is a focus, where possible, on sourcing reclaimed materials. This works with the brand's ethos but also helps to keep costs down.

Timber panelling along the rear wall is made from individual mahogany planks that were salvaged from a yard in Kent. The planks are mounted vertically on split battens which has enabled the curvature of the rear wall to be faceted and softened. Mahogany is a vibrant, figured wood. Each of the planks varies in length, width and thickness and had to be individually planed and worked back to remove years of residue, and as a result each plank has its own distinct character.

The front counter has a pre-cast concrete top made by local craftsmen and sits on a wall of reclaimed Victorian Staffordshire blue bricks salvaged from a psychiatric hospital in Newhaven, just along the coast.

Furniture/ Lighting/ Materials:
- Existing terrazzo flooring retained along with 100% of the existing light fittings from the previous fit out
- Upcycled mahogany planks salvaged from a yard in Kent
- Staffordshire blue engineering bricks to bar salvaged from a psychiatric hospital in Newhaven, East Sussex
- Pre-cast concrete work top fabricated by local craftsmen
- Stools designed and procured by Chalk Architecture. Fabricated in Shanghai from Chinese Oak, upholstered in furniture grade hessian.
- Tables designed and procured by Chalk Architecture. Fabricated in Sussex, 25mm birch ply with Formica tops on bare steel box section framework and a dead matt lacquer.
- Pendants salvaged by www.trainspotters.co.uk from old factories in Eastern Europe.