Types of Café Design
What exactly is a café?
How does it differ from all the other genres of dining establishments?
How many types of café design actually are there?
These are the top two questions that you have to answer before you even start dreaming about opening a café. Anybody can open a café, but the quality only comes across when you’ve done proper groundwork. This involves knowing your demographic of patrons and designing a theme, an ambiance, and a menu to attract them. The trick is to make a guideline of design interventions that work. When you have clear proof of what works, you can tweak it to make your own formula. Otherwise, you’ll just end up with a cluster of ideas that may seem very haphazard upon execution.
In order to help you make a better guide for yourself, we’ll be sharing our outlook on different types of café design today. Let’s take a look:
1. Café Bakery
A café bakery is a fancier term for a bakers’ shop. These are very boutique and definitely a far cry from typical coffee house chains. Since the main attraction of such shops is the baked goods, most of the interior design is based on the display. There are standard display shelves that can be bought and used, but if you’ve got the money to splurge, then customized ones can also be invested in. The goal is to showcase the bakery’s specialties. So, the more bread, cookies, and pastries that are visible, the better.
Such types of café designs also have a small baking nook. This is where the customers and patrons can see the actual process of baking. Cafés that sell freshly baked pizzas often even have brick ovens to market their specialty. This transparency helps build customer trust and also makes a great design element! Similarly, the coffee machines are also an essential part of the whole design.
As far as the rest of the interior design is concerned, it’s best to go with a contemporary aesthetic. A cozy atmosphere with warm lights and comfortable furniture sets the bar high for the ambiance.
One of the oldest café bakeries in Lisbon, Café A Brasileira is in a league of its own. Founded in the nineteenth century, it transcends the typical types of café designs and is the forefather of them all. It’s located in a two-story building (main floor and basement) and has an exterior with a traditional aesthetic on a narrow façade. The interior design is a study in marble tiles, ornamental roof friezes, and plasters along the wall. The color scheme is very warm and welcoming – the golds and reds are complemented with brass accessories and mirrors while the counter with its back wall of delicious goods and bottle rack acts as a focal feature attraction.
2. Student Café
Student cafes are a recent and innovative trend. They are run entirely by students and are a great way for them to practice their business skills. Often mobile and temporary, these establishments don’t have to be fancy or upscale in any way. Since most of these are a start-up, the interior design is carried out in affordable ways. But just because it’s inexpensive does not mean that it cannot be qualitative.
These types of café designs mostly rely on their curb appeal. Their interior design and themes are usually centered around certain activities that are crafted to attract the potential patrons. From study-date layouts to public forum participation, there are a lot of activities that be made a part of the overall design. The ambiance of such cafés is usually very warm, cozy, and inviting.
Since it’s not recommended to splurge on expensive finishes and detailing from the get-go, themes like shabby-chic and casual contemporary go well with the student-run concept. And lastly, good branding for such establishments is an absolute must. Only excellent marketing can get you a steady customer base – food and good ambiance come second.
The Student Café design crafted by CAS in Dammam, Saudi Arabia is a great example of how you can even culturally conform general student café concept. With the ground floor reserved for boys and the mezzanine floor for girls, this café design provides the perfect ambiance to get down to studying. There are even private study cabins that promote educational productivity. The green agave walls and great lighting in the exterior layout is perfect for concentrating on group projects. However, it’s the storefront design that appeals to the desired demographic. With the oversized logo and the glass façade, this café looks like the perfect getaway to discuss your educational woes over a hot cup of coffee.
3. Co-Working Café
These are the most common types of café designs found in our contemporary world. With self-employment and freelancing at an all-time high, co-working café provides a nice work-oriented ambiance. They usually act as a communal workspace. The main attraction is always the free wi-fi and a table/desk with access to a power outlet. This type of a café is aimed for home-based professionals like writers, working students, and other professionals who want to experience a change in their typical environment.
The interior design of such cafés is very quiet and understated – something that repels children and loud patrons. Industrial chic or modern contemporary are both equal contenders of the concept. Great lighting is also an absolute must. Moreover, the constant whirr of espresso machines must be kept out of hearing range. The menu is pretty limited, but the quality must be excellent. You can even go for a monthly membership module to attract a potential customer base.
If you’re looking for a good example, then this Co-Working Café designed by CAS is an excellent one. Located in Jumeirah, Dubai, UAE, it has all the elements of an amazing collaborative environment. With its transparent indoor-outdoor ambiance, European design model, and a fresh youthful vibe, it’s the perfect hotspot that attracts all sorts of worker-bees and business entrepreneurs. It’s one of the best types of café design articulations. The seating has laser-cut brass metal partitions that ensure privacy, the layout is flexible, and the rotating window panels create an amazing atmosphere. The bright yet understated material choice also adds a classy look. The whole space has been cleverly designed so that patrons feel like they’re enjoying the outdoors while sitting in the air-conditioned inside.
4. Parisian Café
The Parisian café concept actually originated in France. It comprised of a network of different meeting places that acted as a culinary and conversational hub of neighborhoods of that time. They’re not typical coffee houses and actually have a full-scale commercial kitchen that offers a restaurant meal menu instead of just snacks. Such types of café designs even have a full bar with wine selections
Many of these iconic Parisian cafés still exist. But since we cannot mimic their history, we can just take inspiration from the concept. This kind of a café usually features a very ornate and elaborate interior design. There are always fine rococo or neo-classical accents. Plush furniture and pastel color schemes overlay the traditional aspects. Its potential demographic of patrons is very exclusive and upscale. The ambiance needs to be very posh and high-end to suit such sensibilities.
You cannot write about Parisian cafés and not mention Café Procope – the oldest one on the block. Opened in 1686, it is still a successfully run business in the heart of Paris. Its classical exterior is a reflection of its history, while the interior design is just as ornate. It encompasses grandeur in every nook and cranny of its interior design, and is an excellent model for such types of café designs. Warm, welcoming, and full of traditional details, it’s definitely an icon in the restaurant design industry.
5. Sidewalk Café
A sidewalk café is usually just an extension of an indoor café. However, it might have an identity of its own if the interior is simply reserved for the kitchen and serve-staff. This type of a café design usually incorporates the furniture and landscaping in its details. Nothing is quite permanent, but the ambiance is nice and the tables often have umbrellas to provide shade from rain or shine. There are beautiful planters with lush greenery for embellishment as well. These cafes are great for people-watching.
Some sidewalk cafés have indoor counterparts. The main thing to remember about this type is that it is very quaint and charming. Therefore, this sentiment needs to reflect in the interior as well. The ideal ambiance must have a cozy and inviting feel, so going for warm colors, dim lighting, some green design elements, and large windows would be a great choice. The idea is to be homely and rustic, so choose materials with this theme in mind.
The Café Delmas located in the Latin Quarter of Paris is an excellent example. This type of a café design emulates a boho-chic ambiance and features an outdoor seating that overlooks the colorful fountain at Place Contrescarpe. It has a warm burgundy-red-gold color scheme, a plush furniture palette, and a modernist exterior that pays a respectful ode to its locational history of 400 years while keeping up with the contemporary sensibilities at the same time.
6. Grab-and-go Café
The grab-and-go café is basically like a drive-thru. It’s perfect for everyone who lived the high-power life and don’t have time to sit down. Some of these outlets do have a few seats, but they’re not very inviting. They’re mostly just there so you can wait for your order to be prepared.
The interior design of such cafes is like that of fast-food chains – clean, simple, and designed to maximize efficiency. These types of café design are usually very lifeless. They contains a hustle-and-bustle of a totally different variety. Their visuals are very stark but do have a friendly touch in the form of inviting colors. They’re catered for the ‘on-the-go’ crowed, so they also tend to look very polished.
Via Carluccio’s is one of the best examples of grab-and-go café’s you’ll ever find. Offering gluten-free Italian bean pots packed with borlotti beans and toppings, this place is a haven for those who appreciate food on the go. The interior design of their shop is very clean, sleek, and sophisticated with few accents that make it seem like an extension of the main brand. A minimal material palette comprised of sophisticated whites and blues helps create a striking design while making the vividly colored produce display the center of attention. A small seating area has been designed for those few who want to sit down and satisfy their munchies on the spot.
7. Corporate Café
These types of café design are built on a corporate identity. They usually comprise of chain outlets that are found all over the world. They also have a fully-established interior design palette – including the graphics, the color schemes, the materials, and even the lighting – that make them instantly recognizable. Common examples of this type of a coffee house include Starbucks, Gloria Jeans, and Dunkin Donuts. All of these have a brand name that appeals to a worldwide audience.
The interior design of such cafés is very comfortable, colorful, and attractive – although it does seem a bit too polished at times. There are set standards in furniture that are retrofitted in each outlet. Colors, slogans, and wall art are also repetitive. The logo remains the focal point of the interior designs of such cafes. Even the layout is created to be as efficient and ergonomic as possible.
The Montana French Café designed by CAS fits this genre really well. This type of a café design features both indoor and outdoor seating. It has a mixed seating layout, an open kitchen, and commune tables for guests. It’s located in the mall and has been specifically designed to attract all kinds of age demographics. There are 40 indoor and outdoor seats, and the ambiance is nothing short of classy. Designed in the modern style with monochromatic accents, this café is a fresh blend of neo-traditional and sophisticated. The fresh monochromatic theme has a very corporate feel to it and features the logo as the center of attention. Furthermore, the comfortable furniture, glossy surfaces, decorative brushed copper inlays, and the beautiful outdoor seating is perfect for dining out!
So, these are some of the most popular type of café design models used around the world. Each one requires a lot of careful thought and detailing to deliver the best ambiance for the targeted patrons. Some of their features might overlap, but they do tend to stand out individually. If you’ve got a café design of your own that you want to get started on, then don’t hesitate to contact us at CAS – we’ve got the solution to all your design woes.