3 Steaming design concepts at Starbucks


How was life before Starbucks? Quite frankly, I don’t remember. My love for Starbucks quickly developed in 1999 when I moved to the USA to attend college there. I spent hours in Starbucks, studying, working on papers, hanging out with class mates, or reading a book. Back in the Netherlands it was a long wait, cause after years of dominating the caffeine market in virtually every other country in the world, Starbucks finally got a foothold in Amsterdam in 2010.

Starbucks uses for each new and renovated store one of four design concepts: 1. Heritage, 2. Artisan, 3. Regional modern, and 4. Concept stores. Today I’m highlighting three Starbucks stores where they brewed more than just coffee. Creative spaces, that make that tall latte extra special.

Starbucks Tokyo

The design is beautiful to look at as it was the result of the Tokyo based architects Kengo Kuma and Associates. The architects didn’t want the commercial space to seem detached from its unique setting. By utilizing 6cm square blocks that intersect each other, they attempted to mimic branches in a forest so that the Starbucks seemed like it was nestling in the trees.

Starbucks Amsterdam “The Bank”

Located in the former vault of a historic bank on Rembrandtplein, this Starbucks store is a showcase for sustainable interior design and slow coffee brewing, with small-batch reserve coffees and a high-end machine that brews one cup at a time. The store is a feast for your eyes. The multilevel space is awash in recycled and local materials; walls are lined with antique Delft tiles, bicycle inner tubes, and wooden gingerbread molds; repurposed Dutch oak was used to make benches, tables, and the undulating ceiling relief consisting of 1,876 pieces of individually sawn blocks. Design director is Dutch-born Liz Muller. The designers retained some of the building’s architectal historical details, such as the 1920s marble floor and the vault’s exposed concrete.

Starbucks Seattle “Container Drive Thru”

Starbucks concept store south of Seattle is pretty innovative. The Reclamation Drive-Thru is made out of repurposed shipping containers, and Starbucks has managed to make it look pretty awesome. Building with containers is beside being innovative,  also part of a global initiative to encourage green building.

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