Good design in harmony with nature – this is one thing that’s hard not to love. Andrei Zerebecky and Lukasz Kos, architects from international firm Four O Nine, have used this combination while transforming a glass greenhouse structure in Beijing into a trendy and ecologically sensitive cafe.
The owners of Cafe 27 have high standards for their menu, seeking every ingredient to be fresh and of best quality. So while working on the Cafe 27 project, Four O Nine architects have tried to convey this philosophy through the design as well.
The food was the inspiration for the project. The cafe owner serves all natural food, cooked and prepared in the cafe by gourmet chefs. We wanted to heighten the experience of eating healthy and beautiful food by providing a healthy and beautiful interior to enjoy it in, the architects told Avocado Garden.
Previously a kitschy greenhouse used for weddings, the building is now an inside-out garden pavilion which connects with its surroundings in a number of ways, not only aesthetically but ecologically as well. In this case we used ecology to define and create the aesthetics, Four O Nine architects told us. They are interconnected, the aesthetics don’t exist without the ecological approaches, and we wanted to make the ecological approaches of the project beautiful. It’s similar with the food in the cafe, it is healthy and beautiful.
Both interior and exterior walls are covered in plants, providing not only a nice view but also a shelter from polluted air of Beijing. During winter, terrazzo flooring creates a thermal mass which gradually and passively heats the space. And during summer, the exterior wood louvers shade the glass structure, reducing undesirable heat gain.
Four O Nine architects name the latter feature as their favorite little detail of this project. They shared: We really enjoy the dynamic play of light inside the cafe from the louvers that were attached to the exterior of the glasshouse to prevent overheating. We weren’t expecting the light to be so playful. It was a delightful surprise.
With the interior and exterior connected through a series of pivoted doors, the boundaries between the indoor and outdoor experiences of the cafe get even more blurry. This garden-like experience in the middle of huge city earned Four O Nine architects the Best Green Interior prize at the 2015 A&D Trophy Awards in Hong Kong.
All photogaphs are courtesy of Hu Yihuai.