September 28, 2017
Coffee For Sasquatch Blends Modern Design and Poetic Whimsy in First Location
Dan Brunn Architecture Disrupts Coffee Shop Vernacular With Minimalist Design
LOS ANGELES: Dan Brunn Architecture designed a new Melrose Avenue café to introduce the Coffee For Sasquatch brand to customers through a playful, memorable design abstractly evoking the forest where the hairy folkloric creature is said to live. The brand’s logo—a stylized Sasquatch figure—seems to emerge from a living wall of real greenery, welcoming patrons into the terrazzo-lined café. A mix of materials and a site-specific mural continue the essence of the wilderness and create a visually dynamic environment. Custom-designed built-in seating curves along the walls and coffee bar to provide comfortable spaces for eating, drinking, and socializing. These distinctive elements are clearly visible through the new storefront to create an iconic image for the shop along the active street.
“Coffee For Sasquatch wanted to avoid the sameness you see in coffee shop design,” says owner Claire Ackad. “Dan Brunn Architecture’s innovative design merges beauty with service—perfect for our brand.”
From the entrance, customers travel along a central pathway starting with the living wall, an 11-foot-tall three-dimensional Sasquatch figure, to the beechwood service counter, which extends from the plantings to continue the forest illusion. A linear path—accentuated by light and volume—creates a feeling of movement and appears to elongate the space. The ceiling is designed as an inverted pitched roof to create a sense of endless height. At the perimeter of the interior, light coves illuminate the space through a soft glow that catches the eye and directs the view to artificial vines hanging along the cove.
“We wanted to instill a bit of fantasy,” says Dan Brunn, AIA, who along with project designer Monica Heiman created the interiors and environmental graphics. “Material selections were meticulous and minimal to bring out the mystery and poetry of the space.”
In contrast to the sharp lines of the path, the built-in seating areas at the heart of the coffee shop are defined by flowing, curved surfaces of poured-in-place terrazzo. Curved-wood chairs designed and manufactured by the Swedish company Hem in European beech extend the forest theme. “The seating is a contemporary take on the classic bentwood café chair,” notes Brunn, who custom designed the beechwood tables with soft angles to tie the curves of the chairs and seating built-ins together.
On the main wall opposite from the Sasquatch image, an abstract mural painted by Oakland artist Hueman evokes the mystery of the forest. Titled “The Mist,” the image features grey cloud forms, along with geometric shapes, to represent the unknown and secretive world inhabited by the giant creature. The light-colored walls and ceiling form a pale envelope to showcase the mural, living wall, wood furniture, and white surfaces within the interior.
The architect ensured the café is patron-friendly by designing a variety of group and solo seating options, including a bench extending from the pick-up counter where customers can wait for their orders. Notes Brunn, “We wanted to celebrate Sasquatch in a fresh context and bring a smile, while creating a modern and inviting space.”
In addition to Brunn and Heiman, the design team included MODAA Construction, general contractor; JT Engineering and M&S Engineering Design, MEP engineers; FE Design & Consulting, expediting consultant; Thang Le & Associates, structural engineer; Habitat Horticulture, living wall; Tako Tyko, street sign; CBM Woodworks, casework.
Los Angeles-based Dan Brunn Architecture, founded in 2005 by Dan Brunn, AIA, develops commercial and residential projects worldwide. Brunn utilizes provocative spatial choreography to harmonize light with volume. Inspired by the Bauhaus architecture of his native Tel Aviv, he reinterprets Modernist principles in minimalist designs for living, shopping, and dining. Brunn’s portfolio includes furniture design that addresses the needs of living room, bedroom, and bath with highly functional, sophisticated, and streamlined solutions.