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 Lux Espresso - Christchurch


The Christchurch Centre of Contemporary Art or CoCA approached our client, Allpress Espresso, about establishing a cafe in the CoCA gallery. A quote from their initial contact reads...

“We have identified your brand and its presentation as being a great fit. Your Montreal cafe speaks volumes about your aesthetic. We could see how this would work with CoCA.”

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So began the exercise of fitting a cafe as functional as Montreal St into a much smaller area. The 78m 2 space is long and narrow. 2 sets of doors open from the side of the main CoCA entrance, and there are large windows facing the street giving it excellent public profile. Through the back of the cafe there is direct access to the gallery. It was important to balance the flow of customers through the process of ordering coffee & food, paying and finding a seat as well as providing a waiting area for take­aways. Different seating options provide for short or long stay patrons who may stay for lunch, these are towards the rear of the space to allow more freedom of movement towards the front.

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One of the biggest challenges with creating a working cafe in this part of the building was the services. There was no waste pipe provided in the area so a pumped solution was developed. After the system was fully designed & priced it was too complicated & too expensive so a more traditional under slab drain was retro­fitted despite it clashing with some of the major structural upgrades of the building. This simplified the drainage somewhat but it still required a split system with some drains going via a grease trap while others e.g. the dishwasher, discharge directly to the main foul sewer. All the services, drainage, water supply & electrical are housed within the joinery.

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Japanese 145x28mm tiles were specified early on which allow the extensive use of smooth curves in the joinery design. These curves lend a softening effect to counters and help with the flow through the cafe. All the front counters are unfinished oak and the rear counters used for food prep & washing up are stainless steel. Large format tiles on the back wall suit the scale of the space. The floor within the kitchen area is coved vinyl to meet environmental health requirements while the rest of the floor is raw concrete that matches the main aesthetic of the CoCA building.

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This fit out has created a thriving cafe with a symbiotic relationship to the reinvigorated gallery. To quote CoCA again... “A cafe fulfils a social need, a further way of engaging the public, breaking down potential barriers to new patrons and providing that point where conversations about contemporary art may continue.”