Unit 7 - The Third Place

Research - Unit 7




Tom Dixon


Bamboo fiber plastic

Eco- qualities - Biodegradable

"The products represent the desire to strip away any superfluity to reveal the underlying characteristics of the production process, exposing the intrinsic nature of each object."

Ecoware was created from plastic reinforced with bamboo fiber. Naturally formed materials return back to the environment at the end of their life cycle, which makes them an ideal choice for the series.


Eco Design

Bamboo Furniture




biodegradable plates














The Nautilus Project

Design: Yuhkichi Kawai / design spirits co., ltd.

Lighting Design: Kazuhiko Suzuki / Muse d co.

Graphic Design: Alistair Christie / MolotovCreative pte.ltd

Builder Edwin Fong / KNK Construction pte. ltd.

Area: 502.75m^2 (Kitchen 120.75m^2) 122seats


Located on the fourth floor of the ION shopping centre, this project aims to make a user-friendly passage for shoppers and customers on the floor in a cost-effective way. A common use passage was made following the skeleton of the curved restaurant. Great effort had to be put in to avoid making it look futuristic.






Koki in gallery


Design: Hyeong-jong Kim, Dae-sung Woo, Seong-ki Cho [Monosome Design]

Location: 588 지월리 초월읍 광주시 경기도

Use: BBQ Restaurant

Area: 293m^2

Floor: Tamarack, Wall: Painting; Block; Glass, Ceiling: Spray Coating; Barrisol, Film Sheet

Koki in gallery claimed to be a place where people, forest (nature) and culture co-exist, differentiating itself from other restaurants. The clients request was to design a place where customers can enjoy a cup of tea looking at the beautiful nature from the window as if they are in a cafe, which is quite different from existing restaurants offering meat dishes. There are twenty four empty picture frames in the entrance, allowing people to put any picture in their minds inside of the frame. 



I really like how the grill in the tables is elegantly hidden yet indicated with neat grill lines that follow the circular frame of the grill top. Usually, this part of the table is quite unsightly in Korean BBQ restaurants, and this designer has solved the problem aesthetically.



Primary Research: Cafes

As my initial project theme focuses on inner-city cafes, I decided to visit popular cafes in inner city areas to analyse how branding, use of material, interior and product design create unique atmospheres of the particular cafes. 

Ground Central (coffee shop), New York

Ground Central(20th Feb 2018)

  • situated in the hub of offices - e.g. right next to UN headquarters. (42nd street)
  • most customers are professionals from local offices
  • brass-coloured brick-wall appearance create a factory-like ambiance, which added with the pipe-frames of shelves and steel stools and tables, almost transport the customers to a coffee plant, making it seem as though the coffee they buy is coming from its very source.  

key words: raw, rugged,

aesthetic: metal, industrial, factor


The quality of the coffee in my opinion, is nowhere near as good as Devocion, but people still seemed to think they are ‘different’ or definitely prefer coming here over other more common chain coffee shops. I realised that the atmosphere of the coffee shop and brand which is created largely through its cafe furniture influences customer’s opinion of the actual flavour of the drink they are having. Moreover, as coffee is something people drink daily, they subconsicously associate themsleves with the brand they get their coffee from every day.


Ground Central


Adding detail to design

The studded edges of the tables and benches add to the rock/punk look that gives the cafe it's unique brand. It gives a sense of escapism for the many office workers who visit this cafe.

The design of the bench that would normally be found outdoors create a very casual atmosphere for customers to feel relaxed and away from work.

Ground Central interior design


Interior Design (Ground Central)

Headlights are added as a simple method to make the whole space look retro.

Metal tables and chairs


Birch Coffee, New York

Nature friendly atmosphere created through the brand image

Cup holders are in the pattern of the bark of a birch tree --> reminds consumers of the source of the paper cup holder and thus the importance of recylcing and reducing waste

-Messages are written on almost every object that is to be given from the employee to the customer which makes the product more personal. 

-Napkins are given multiple functions, simply by drawing dots and lines to generate social interaction through games. 

-familiar character - shrek - used on sign board to complement the home-like and familiar atmoshpere

Use of different materials for the bar


Material finishes

Using colour and a different finishing on wood, the spot for which to collect your drink is distinguished.

sustainable napkins


Sustainabple napkins (Birch Coffee)


By simply adding a template for games on the napkins, it encourages customers to interact with one another by reusing commonly wasted napkins in cafes. It also reminds people subtly that these products that people often use over-excessively and waste without even using, are valuable and should be used with consideration.

Birch Coffee


Seoul Museum of Art

Kitano Takeshi's flower vases of the animals is an ingenious way of making hybrids through combining aesthetics and function. I also like the bright and bold colours he uses which surprisingly, do not overwhelm the colours of the flowers at all, but compliments them.

I also like Alessandro Mendini's use of colour on the African faces. The notion of being coloured is reinterpreted into something colourful.

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

These products make me admire how different layers to design are created using various methods.

The yellow leather that cuts through the hexagonal head of the chair creating two more shapes: a diamond and an arrow pointing down. This arrow shape almost directs the use to sit down on the cushioned chair, and the diamond part is accentuated with an extruded border. 

For the desk set, multiple, thin surfaces are colour coded with the abstract carpet set against it in order to create complex layers to the working space.

One of the chairs uses cut out holes which almost look like graffiti squiggles. They could represent one of the elements, such as water or wind, or even an organism such as a worm. The deliberate childishness of this detail contrasts with the sleek, elegant design of the chair and makes adds ambiguity to is aesthetic. 

Derrick Adams - Sanctuary

Derrick Adams is an African American artist based in New York, born in Baltimore 1970. I was touched by his sensitivity to the use of exhibition space, manipulating it to portray the boundaries that black Americans faced and the long journey they had to take to reach freedom. His use of collage was very inspiring, as it combined a range of materials and was able to deliver his ideas even with very abstract artworks.


Adam’s practice is rooted in deconstructivist philosophies, such as the fragmentation and manipulation of structure and surface, and the marriage of complex improbable forms. Through these techniques, Adams examines the force of popular visual culture and media on the perception and construction of self-image, resulting in work that appears to be both in a state of deconstruciton and in the process of being built. Adams is a keen observer of his environment and continuously collects patterned fabrics, culturally specific references and design elements that are incorporated in his work.



Driving While Black (Derrick Adams)

Driving While Black

The 20th century —> rise of automobility in the United States (Establishment of the Interstate Highway System in 1956) —> changed American culture


“Going for a drive” was a leisure activity and the “open road” connoted freedom and democratic public space. 

However, civil rights laws did not keep pace with the proliferation of easier transportation. 


For black Americans travelling by car in the era of segregation, the open road presented serious dangers in both northern and southern states. There was widespread institutionalised racism in several forms that black Americans had to face when driving.


Therefore the idea of driving across racial boundaries was much of a literal one for African Americans at the time. I was moved by Adams’ portrayal of his race’s strife against racism, through a collective and positive method of engaging in the leisure activity of driving, shopping, dining and relaxing.

Julianne Swartz: Sine Body

Julianne Swartz uses sculptural installations to heighten perception, encouraging the audience to explore space, affect, and one another through both intimate objects and interactive work. I like how she works with simple materials and forms to release the poetic from the everyday and ephemeral, creating encounters that tap into curiosity and emotion. 

Sine body is inspired by the Buddhist singing bowl, a standing bell that is frequently used to mark meditation or to accompany funeral rites. When it is struck with a mallet, Swartz discovered in their sound a tactility that was felt in the body, rather than heard. 

Swartz creates a similar somatic experience using the acoustically reflective materials of ceramic and glass to build a group of hybrid vessels that suggest corporeal forms. I am motivated by the fluidity of her aesthetic products. I particularly like how each individual vessel creates different frequency sounds, but together they create an ephemeral unified chorus that sounds sacred and pure.




Sine Body


Sine Body


Sine Body


Vincenzo De Cotiis - Coffee Table

coffee table made with Murano glass, silvered cast brass, silvered brass

I like the contrast between the thinly cut slivered brass of the table surface, and the sturdy, thick supporting leg. 

The murano glass topped onto it in a fluid form makes it look as though time has passed.


Vincenzo De Cotiis - Coffee Table


Wonmin Park - Haze Stools


Wonmin Park - Haze Stools

These haze stools made of coloured resin are almost like optical illusions, as they seem to be square or symmetrical if you glance at it, but the supporting legs are in fact laid so that they are asymmetrical. This adds a twist to the design they may have otherwise been fairly average.


Leon Golub - Gigantomachy II


Leon Golub - Gigantomachy II

Acrylic on linen

Gigantomachy II represents generalised male nudes in combat. Golub uses the technique of alternately applying and removing layers of paint, making the figures seem flayed, their skin a riot of wounds and scars. An expression of his belief that art should hold contemporary relevance yet remain rooted in history and the collective experience, Gigantomachy II harnesses the allegorical power of myth to critique modern violence, warfare, and masculinity.


Leon Golub - Facing Black Men - Black Women, 1988, Screenprint


Leon Golub - Gigantomachy II



Recycled Fabric

Sonic Fabric

Alyce Santoro


Woven audiotape

Eco Qualities - Recycled Materials


Weaving together of actual audiotape with polyester thread. Inspired by Tibetan Buddhist prayer flags - by which printed mantras are released to the world and carried by the wind - Alyce Santoro's creations are made from found ambient and spoken-word recordings woven on a traditional loom.

Added bonus - material can be heard by running a tape head over the fabric so you can create audible sounds.




Recyclable Plastics




Fresh Fat Plastic



Cafe Stone Series

Tom Dixon


Red Jaipur sandstone, green marble

Eco qualities - recyclable, non-toxic



Molded Sugar








Functional and minimalist design

Made from beech or maple

Uses minimal material components




Transportable Chair


Cafe De Matinee

Secondary Research - Idea 10 - Annual + Detail (Interior Design Annual)

Jeoung, Ji-seoung



Design/Builder: studio VASE (www.studiovase.com)


Location: 7F AK Plaza 185-1 평택동 평택시 경기도 

Use: Cafe

Area: 110m^2

Floor: Tile, Wall: Tek Wood Skin; Molding; V.P, Ceiling: Stretch Ceiling System


The space is arranged in an open type in all directions within a department store. Such arrangement rather has a disadvantage of being embeddable within a department store space along with other shops. Cafe De Matinee enabled people to recognise it as a space itself easily by describing a space as an image. The method was to draw a clear line in a space. A line was drawn across the space, one filled with white and the other field with brown. The clear boundary between white and brown depicts a boundary made by a cup and coffee, as if it is an image of coffee contained in a white cup. This double-sidedness shows a space wittily by producing various scenes depending on viewing angles.



Flora Cafe, New York

-Concrete walls and ceiling

-marble bar surface

-long bar-like table in the middle with stools

Teaspoon from Sambonnet

Anncap china, (made in italy) (saucer and coffee cups)

-long couch-like bench by the window. 

lage window overlooking the porch

-easy access for disabled and baby buggies, large entrance

-the concrete pillars add to the feeling of the space being grand, sturdy and museum-like.

-lighting accentuate wine and cups

-high ceiling - openness

vertical pillars and wide-width window frames divide up the space and make the large space organised.

-geometric, long lines. 

-hard tile floor

-bars dividing up the different drinks while using minimum material and space. - also used to organise wine glasses. very neat and museum like.

the entrance part of the museum that intercepts the open high ceiling is manipulated into a sectioning device to divide the cafe and restaurant.

half of the cafe/restaurant has a low ceiling, the other half has a high celing. Some people can feel cosy and sheltered, others can enjoy the openness of the high ceiling and the view by the window.

-the pastry section is imbedded into the square shape bar, to add uniformity to the shape of the bar.

Pennylane Coffee, New York

-right by UN headquarters

-low ceiling - cosy atmosphere

-classical music - string instruments 

-main table thin, long. allows people to be close together. Private space respected with human contact. 

-bar is lower than average bar height of coffee shops --> convenience for customers to their bags to get their wallet out.

-secluded bar, high table area: great for people who wish to have private conversations, or work/relax quietly.

sells various products - wine, salt, nuts, coffee cups, coffee, notebooks

-coffee bar is connected to the sugar, lids, straws, milk etc. Shared space between barrista and customer. and saves space, saves unnecessary wasteage --> customers are likely to only take what they need.

-coffee placed inside jam-like jars. visible beans - good aesthetic

-large folding glass doors - almost like a museum conservatory - makes the small space seem more open,

customers can enjoy the feeling of sitting on the porch of their house.

-LED light bulb placed inside display of pastries - makes it look fuller

Pennylane Cafe


Pennylane Cafe Entrance Design

The whole door to the entrance of the cafe also acts as a window. It opens up the small interior space and gives the illusion that the space is bigger than it is.

Good use of narrow space


Pennylane Cafe


The bar


Pennylane Cafe Bar Design

I like how the bar is deliberately made low, considering how this narrow space can be shared. Usually, the surface for customers adding sugar and milk etc is separate to the serving bar, but here, it is designed to be in one place. This not only makes it very efficient, but adds the function of sustainability, as customers are likely not to take excessive amounts of sugar, milk, napkins, cup lids etc, when they can be clearly seen by the baristas.

The simple method of dividing the two areas by difference in height gives it a highly effective function.

Light shade design: material and patten

The wool light shade adds texture to atmosphere creating a feeling of cosiness.  

The wavy border around the circular opening of the light creates a feeling of warmth.

Light shade design


Tables at Viabizzuno

At this store there were various designs of lightings, table tops/surfaces and tableware. The round individual tables at the store were unusual, as the surface area of the top of the table was equal to the supporting bottom part, giving it a unique characteristic. The depth of the table surfaces were very thin, adding elegance to the design. It was also interesting that they used mirrors on the tables. I liked this as it added another dimension to the flat surface by reflecting the surroundings. 

Geometric Design at Viabizzuno

I was particularly inspired by the angular, linear shapes of the lounge chairs and the plant pot. Through carefully considering the appropriate angle at which to join surfaces, a simple design of a chair that only uses rectangular shapes can look interesting.

For the plant pot that joins cone shapes as legs to the rectangular body, I realised how combining such simple shapes in non-conformative design can add a twist to the product. 

Patterns and Textures

The detailed accessories from the 18th and 19th centuries at the Cooper Hewitt Museum motivated me to add texture to the surface of my design. I was touched by the soldering details and gathering of tiny jewels into repetitive, attractive patterns. When combined with resin, or coated metals, these make accessory pieces that are not only pleasing to the eye, but satisfying to touch and hold. 

Camille Hoffmann

In Pieceable Kingdom, Camille Hoffman presents new mixed-media artworks that offer mediations on Manifest Destiny and its latent representation in the romantic American landscape. For her Fellow Focus exhibition, Hoffman reflects on how histories of race, gender, and power are often embedded within influential Amercian landscape paintings of the nineteenth century through their depictions of light, nature, the frontier, and borders.

In her work, Hoffman explores the interconnectedness of her personal identity with American colonialism, environmental policy, and contemporary pop culture. using materials collected from her everyday life, including holiday-themed tablecloths, discarded medical records, nature calendars, platic bags, and paint, Hoffman crafts imaginary landscapes that are grounded in accumulation, personal narrative, and historical critique. Her paintings are layered geographies, in which these fragments of cultural objects are chromatically twisted and blended into complex wholes.

Camille Hoffmann


Camille Hoffmann - Pieceable Kingdom


Camille Hoffmann - Pieceable Kingdom


Studio Drift - Fragile Future Chandelier 3.12


Studio Drift - Fragile Future Chandelier 3.12

Made with dandelion seed, phosphorus bronze and LED,

I was struck by the craftsmanship on this piece of lighting. The designer had to hand-attach each dandelion seed to the LED and once all this had accumulated and set up between the digital signal - like bronze frame, it becomes not just a lighting installation but a sublime piece of artwork.

Studio Drift - Fragile Future Chandelier 3.12


Dandelion chandelier


Giacomo Ravagli - Barometro Table Lamp 2.10 (Black Portoro)

Made with Portoro Marble, Brass, Light Fittings

The angles cut on the marble highlights the marbling patterns on it, adding beauty to the design. This is carefully constructed to be accentuated even more through the way the lamp shade is shaped to subtly light the parts of the marble, as well as lighting up the surrounding space.

It is unusal to have a lamp shade made of metal, and l like the vintage finishing on it.




The Average American produces 4.5 pounds of trash each day.

Tha's like tossing 45 million elephants into landfills each year.


I found these straws at the Package Free Shop in New York, Brooklyn. I had always lamented over the plastic waste straws cause when working at cafes. In Seoul, before recycling plastic, you need to wash them and then dispose of them. Used straws are very annoying to wash, and knowing that they are going to be thrown away anyway, employees tend not to wash them properly, which probably means they won't even be recycled. Therefore these reusable straws could be used in cafes instead of the disposable ones that are excessively wasted each day, particularly during the summer. They are also better for your health. The ones above are made of natural bamboo, recycled rubber and metal. It may be worth investigating the effect of flavour that the material of straws have when consuming drinks. I bought the bamboo straws and tried them at home. To my surprise, they worked well, and did not affect the taste of the smoothies I consumed. However, it did feel slightly strange when drinking as the thickness of the straw is not what I am used to. Plastic has an advantage of it being easily manufactured very thin for various usage. Could there be another durable material that does not affect the flavour of drinks but is also sustainable?

One problem with reusable straws is how to wash them. Because of its narrow interior, it is very difficult to wash thoroughly, particularly if drinks with a lot of syrup or milk has been consumed using them. In Korea, most people drink iced drinks in the summer in cafes which require the use of straws. This is also the case in many countries in Asia which become very hot in the summer, and people seek iced drinks. in Perhaps I could make a washing machine for commercial use that accommodates the washing of reusable straws...

Package Free Shop


Package Free Shop - Reusable Coffee Cups


Reusable Coffee Cup / Flask


Cuupow - Turn any tin into a coffee cup


Mason Tap


Researching Techniques - Ceramic Art London


Peter Beard - Ceramic Art London


Peter Beard - Ceramic Art London

I admire the texture created in this ceramic piece. I wonder how he managed to create the contrasting glazes between the tiny gaps of the organic forms.

Glazing Technique

Sun Kim uses different finishes for the exterior and interior of her ceramic pieces, adding contrast to the simple cups and bowls. I feel there is something attractive about having two contrasting tactile surfaces on products, and I wish to take this aboard onto my ceramic cups.

Inspiring glazing techniques (Ceramic Art London)



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