bagle-o-bagle Urban Rustic Café Design
Location: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Scope of Services: Interior Design and Exterior Design
Date: December 2019
Urban and rustic might seem like two words that shouldn’t go together, because they appear to be completely opposite design styles. While urban design is modern, clean, and trendy, rustic design focuses on warmth and creating a feeling of safety within a space.
However, urban rustic design is a thriving style that is gaining popularity in the world of modern contemporary design. It represents the best of both worlds, where simplicity is the key to creating an interior space in which the look, layout, and circulation is modern, but the feel is warm and cozy.
The bagel-o-bagel brand is already popular in Riyadh for being the first café to serve American bagels alongside other delicious snacks and coffee. Their first branch opened up about six months ago near King Saud University and was a huge success. This second branch, however, is their flagship store targeting young university students and professionals as their main customers. Hence, the interior of this urban rustic café design is brightly lit, smart, and stylish with a casual contemporary vibe that will set the standard for future stores.
The exterior of the café enjoys street frontage with large, vertical glass panels that give customers an enticing glimpse of the trendy interior space. The logo is prominently displayed, emphasizing the fresh bagels and snacks served every day. Large shades can be pulled down to keep the interior cool from the harsh summer sun.
The ground floor is bright, open, and airy, with a chilled, distinctly industrial vibe that is attractive and welcoming to the younger generation. The circulation is clean and the space easy to navigate, facilitating both in-store dining as well as takeaway orders. Tall ceilings, at 5.7 meters above the floor, enhance the feeling of spaciousness.
The urban rustic look is achieved through the use of contemporary materials such as concrete and glass, paired with the natural beauty of rustic materials like fabric and wood, which is left unfinished. The emphasis on the functional architectural elements of the space—exposed ducts and unadorned exposed concrete ceilings—gives the space a rustic and industrial look and feel. Even the flooring combines concrete-looking tiles with a funky herringbone-patterned wood floor for a trendy, hip look. A large vertical green wall bearing the café’s logo acts as a vibrant focal point at the far end of the café.
The layout is simple: since 60% of the café’s business comprises takeaway orders, the circulation is designed to reflect this. The ground floor houses a long, linear, wood and glass counter for display and taking orders. This is attached to the kitchen, which is glimpsed through a fun display of wall-mounted bagels. A comfortable, upholstered wooden bench across from the counter makes waiting convenient and comfortable, separating those who come in to place takeaway orders from those that are dining in.
A graceful curving staircase leads to the upper level, which accommodates more seating and study tables. Bright, cheerful green accents add a snazzy vibe to the café, making it an appealing and fun place to hang out. This is enhanced by the array of cups suspended from a grid attached the ceiling, giving the space a cool, trendy vibe.
A large concrete-clad column supports the staircase and grounds the design.
Its proximity to the Imam university is reflected in the way the urban rustic café design caters to the student population, who make up a large percentage of the client base.
The seating comprises cozy wooden tables and chairs arranged along the window wall to take advantage of exterior views. Two-seater tables can accommodate a few more students for flexibility in seating. Comfortable, curved wooden benches with soft green seats and back panels offer alternative seating for larger groups of people. The upholstered seat backs are fastened to the wooden backing with exposed leather straps that make for an interesting visual detail and further enhance the rustic industrial vibe of the café.
The lighting is simple and geometric, enhancing the retro look of the café. Green pendant lamps provide lighting for the window-side seating. These are supplemented by black powder-coated metal track lighting in linear and circular arrays that light up the rest of the space.
The corner of the ground floor houses a cool library corner with exposed brick and metal shelving for books and large study tables to accommodate groups of students. Dark, wood, stepped seating is adorned with colorful cushions to impart an outdoor auditorium-style look to this charming corner. The combination of modern and natural materials comes together in this corner with brick, wood, and metal co-existing to create a cozy, comfortable study space.
The spiral staircase design is modern and trendy. Wood treads and risers highlight green walls that support a simple white-painted metal handrail that follows the curve of the winding stairway.
The seating on the upper level comprises wooden tables and chairs and long study tables, as well as more comfortable armchairs upholstered in a warm brown suede fabric. Brown leather poufs can be moved around for flexible seating. The low ceiling gives this space a warmth and charm. Green and brown accents work well with the pale lavender-colored walls.
The wooden herringbone pattern from the ground floor level is used for continuity.
The variety of seating accommodates students and professionals on weekdays but is also conducive to families, who are the primary customers on weekends.
The bathroom is a visually rich space with a combination of materials that is a perfect blend of old and new. Gray, concrete-textured tiles clad the walls from floor to ceiling and are interrupted by an unexpected wall of exposed brick above the commode. Glossy, modern fixtures in a matching gray hue add a modern touch and a hint of contrast to the matte-finished walls. The wooden counter is topped with a stone countertop that accommodates a gray bowl-shaped wash basin. Retro-style fittings complete the look.
Painted green doors are detailed with geometric-shaped semi-circular handles as well as bronze-colored detailing to match the bronzed metal frame. The vibrant green accent adds character to this charming bathroom, which follows the hip vibe of the rest of the urban rustic café design.
Contrasting textures, unexpected material juxtapositions and interesting accents add a fashionable, urban appeal that is ideal for a study session or a casual chat over coffee and bagels. Simplicity in layout, repeated use of materials and colors, and careful detailing create a fun, relaxing ambience in this urban rustic café design.