n.o.t. specialty coffee @ lee garden

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. 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.“

N.O.T. Specialty Coffee is a petite café totalling 250 square feet in one of the famous shopping malls at 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.

At N.O.T. Speciality 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 and to attract passer-by we created a story about an "under-the-table deal" in between the barista and the customer, and consequently you pay him under the table for a unique taste of coffee. With this approach we transform the ceiling into a cluster of table legs as if you are enjoying a coffee under a huge table. The bar counter sits on one side with a hanging feature above surrounding with the words "no other than" made in illuminated spheres. The owner would like to emphasize the brand "N.O.T." in a subtle way, and therefore we decided to spread them into details like the wood skirting on wall and the brass decoration under the bar counter.

Coffee has always been part of our daily lives, thanks to the photographer friend of the owner we were allowed to display his series of photos about daily lives of Hong Kong in black and white. It becomes part of the eye-catching walls in the coffee shop.

Completed in 2018.