n.o.t. specialty coffee

The food and beverage sector has always been a challenging business in Hong Kong; skyrocketing rent for confined premises are the norms and only franchises continue to thrive. At the same time, traditional and local businesses are marginalized and disappear slowly. As designers that grew up in this city perhaps we could help restoring and retaining some of our remaining culture through our projects.

N.O.T. Specialty Coffee is a petite café totaling 200 square feet in the middle of a busy commercial district. Whilst it’s tiny in size, the premise retains a very high clear ceiling which makes its feel spacious and liberating.

N.O.T. Coffee stands for “No Other Than Specialty Coffee”. As the owner explains: “unlike the machine-prepared variety, handmade coffee is alive” and distinctive, so as to suit each individual customer’s preference.

At NOT Specialty Coffee, the brews are hand-crafted with care and seasoned skill and the occasional nicks defines their perfection in the eyes of its customers. In response to this artisanal approach, we transform the premise into the proprietor’s workshop where all of the fitting out items are handmade. The signage was struck by an old local blacksmith; the bar top is held up by clamps, bags of coffee beans are hung by pulleys and tables supported via steel I-sections. Even the traditional accordion type cast iron shutter leading to the storage was hand made by local blacksmiths.

To attract passer-by, we created a slanted false ceiling with 108 suspended filament tubes to form the café’s logo which can be easily seen from eye level at the pavement. The sole feature wall running the entire length of the shop is also lined with hand painted and fired wall tiles.

Completed in 2013.