In 2016, we were invited to design CUPONE, a coffee shop located at the headquarters of BMW China, by the lobby of Gateway Plaza, a commercial development near Beijing’s embassy district. CUPONE Café extends from an angle of the building’s lobby towards an outdoor terrace, with an indoor area connecting both sections. To integrate these features into a homogeneous design, we selected a “Mountains and Rivers” theme for the project.
The Lobby as a Visual Center
When visitors enter through the Plaza’s main access door and take the escalator to the second floor, the view offered by the quiet and rather empty lobby is hardly attractive. On the other hand, the real charm of a café comes from the atmosphere created by the diversity of its clientele. For this reason, we decided to design a lobby with an artistic visual center, one that allows visitors to forget about monotonous work environments, and provides room to sit back and relax while enjoying a cup of coffee.
“Mountains” deliver a cozy feeling of privacy to the open lobby, while the coming and going of visitors becomes “rivers” extending into the distance, just like gentle streams of water flowing through the mountains. Such a visual and psychological enhancement creates a sense of continuity between the open area of the lobby and the outdoor terrace. To this end, after countless attempts, we selected nearly 300 vertical “leaves”:
Their champagne plated exterior provides reflection, forming a three-dimensional dynamic filter. Thus, color and patterns on each leaf change continuously with every move, posture and variation on the clothing of both visitors and passers-by. These leaves of different sizes are planted from the floor up to a height of 2.4 meters. Together, they create a range of mountains that provides visitors with a feeling of relative privacy and freedom of space.
Different shades of grey varnish were applied to the inner surface of the leaves. Side by side with multiple sets of purple seats, these symbolic elements reduce the influence of external disturbances, allowing guests to enjoy quality time on their own or with friends.
Regarding interiors, we chose a colorful yet mysterious tone of peacock blue as the main color theme, as well as refined solid wood and marble materials to showcase on details. As an extension of the “mountains and rivers”, we hung close to one thousand leaves of white acrylic and reflective stainless steel at the top of the space, using particle hydrodynamics theory to simulate the flow of a stream of water, different material textures, light, and even reflections; just like the gentle flow of water under the sparkling light of the sun. Thus, the stream is born at the entrance to the lobby, then flows through the cascading changes of mountains, into the most dynamic space of the project, right above the service counter, and spreads throughout the café, to eventually dissipate like gentle water flowers under the sun of the outer terrace.
We try to change people’s inertial concept of daily space. Therefore, CUPONE Gateway Plaza provides a place to drink coffee, while being an extremely functional art installation in itself. It is based at the heart of a business area that stresses work efficiency, from where it breathes a warm and vivid feeling into the structure.
Project Year： 2016
客户 ： CUPONE
设计方 ： SODA architects
Architects： SODA architects
Project Team： JIANG Yuan, SONG Chen, CHEN Fei
Design scopes： Interior，furniture，lighting
施工方 ： SOK大通策划咨询有限公司
Construction company ： SOK Consulting Service Limited
Location： 1st floor, Gateway Plaza, No.18, XiaGuangLi, Beijing, China.
面积 ： 300m2
Main Materials： Stainless steel，Acrylic，Wood
摄影 ： 曹雪峰，林阳
Photographs： CAO Xuefeng，LIN Yang
网站 ： www.soda.archi
“Design is the catalyst that elegantly brings out the full potential in a project.”
SODA Architects was founded by Mr. Yuan Jiang and Mr. Chen Song in 2015, in Paris and Beijing simultaneously, using their comprehensive background in local and international forms of architecture and art.
两人分别在：法国“让•努维尔建筑事务所“及 美国“贝氏建筑事务所”实践多年，期间参与了： “苏州博物馆”，“巴黎爱乐交响乐厅”，“中国国家美术馆新馆” 等项目。
Years of experience at Ateliers Jean Nouvel (Paris) and Pei Partnership Architects (Asia) – Pei Partnership Architects Asia respectively, allowed both architects to participate in renowned projects such as “The Suzhou Museum”, “The Paris Philharmonic Symphony Hall”, “The New National Art Museum of China”, among others.
In 2010, they were shortlisted by New York’s eVolo Design Competition and recently, the duo collaborated with VOGUE Magazine on the “Gem·Dream·Style” Retrospective Jewelry Exhibition designed for LVMH’s Bvlgari.
Yuan Jiang (Founding Partner)
Mr. Yuan Jiang is an architect registered to the National Architects Order Board of France. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the Xi’an University of Architecture and Technology as well as a Master of Architecture from the École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Paris-Belleville. Prior to founding Soda Architects, Mr. Jiang was appointed responsible for design at Ateliers Jean Nouvel (France). Mr. Jiang returned to China in 2015 and together with Mr. Chen Song co-founded SODA Architects.
Chen Song(Founding Partner)
宋晨，中央美术学院建筑学院学士。在创立SODA之前，宋晨曾在: 环球柏涛建筑事务所，MO Atelier（原贝氏亚洲建筑事务所) , CAA希岸联合建筑事务所担任建筑师和项目负责人，2015年与姜元共同创立SODA建筑师事务所。
Mr. Chen Song holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the Central Academy of Fine Arts. Prior to founding SODA Architects, Mr. Song worked for Aedas Global Architecture，MO Atelier (Pei Partnership Architects -Asia) and Core of Architecture & Art Associates as an architect and project manager. In 2015, Mr. Song co-founded SODA Architects together with Mr. Yuan Jiang.