architecture studio office coastline designs the 20 sqm ‘slab town café’ in the heart of shanghai’s former french concession. reflective corrugated aluminum panels clothe the cafe’s walls, while a mirror surface creates a link between the interior, the street, and the uncommonly-shaped terrace.all images courtesy of alessandro wang
the aim of office coastline was to incorporate the outdoor imagery into the interior layout. the shanghai-based architects built a skirting as high as the door with two different materials and arranged the reflective corrugated aluminum panels on the light-prone walls along the interior centerline. the same panel is used inverted to create a negative, textured, light green mortar, which was applied to the backlit wall and wrapped around the concrete seats. these two different approaches create a unified modular rhythm and a strong contrast of textures.
although the interior area is only 20 sqm, it showcases a neat east-facing street façade and a rare south-facing courtyard. the courtyard, with its wild landscape, takes shape as an isolated and primitive space right next to the bustling urban fabric. as multiple families shared the common space in history, the neighborhood’s interaction remained complicated, and the terrace was formed to an unusual contour.
a visual structure connects the inside, the outside, and the terrace, influenced by the technique ‘mise en abyme’. ‘therefore, between the indoor seats and the steps leading to the terrace a mirror facing the street,’ mentions office coastline. the light green mortar is molded and pressed with the corrugated aluminum panel, together juxtaposed to separate the bar area and the guest seating area. ‘this duo material treatment reflects our understanding of indoor-outdoor continuity,’ adds the studio.
name: slab town café
architect: office coastline
total floor area: 20 sqm
location: fumin road, shanghai, china
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edited by: christina petridou | designboom