Slab Town Coffee

pronounced design completed Slab Town Coffee to mimiic a bus station, while maintaining human interaction, a minimal look and a welcoming environment.

  • area / size 753 sqft
  • Year 2022
  • Location Shanghai, China,
  • At two years old, Slab Town occupies a unique spot on Shanghai’s cafe-dense Fumin Road. Always populated with loyal coffee lovers, this unmarked shop has gained a firm foothold in the coffee scene of the Former French Concession, prompting the independent coffee brand to open a second location at the brightly lit K11 Art Mall on Huaihai Lu of Xintiandi District. With the rushing business crowd in mind, Pronounced Design helped to conceive a fast-paced coffee “transit station” design, emulating the brand’s original tone of connecting urban culture with wild outdoor atmosphere.

    Train stations have been an integral part of urban culture since the 20th century. They not only represent a place of speed and convenience, but also a space for busy people to recharge as they rush from one place to another. The core “station” concept behind Slab Town K11 comes from its conveniently central location in the underground atrium of the mall where it is connected to both the metro line 1 entrance and multiple brand stores. The design of the space is heavily inspired by the industrial style of train stations, and is meant to evoke feelings of safety, security and shelter. The stainless steel bent tubes that cover the bar and ceiling of Slab Town K11 mimic the familiar railings in a subway car. The tactile paving on the ground reminds customers of the textured floor of a train station. All of these finishing touches bring together the vision of Slab Town K11.

    The idea of “urban wilderness” was put forward by Slab Town founders,seeking common and simple meaning in the “barbaric” city, and embracing the sparks in daily life. Slab Town’s signature green motif wraps the entire “transit station”. The jade-colored resin table tops, green seat cushions, light green terrazzo floor tiles, and dark green flower beds work together to bring a visual respite in the form of an urban forest to the busy mall, creating an oasis-like sense of freedom.

    In order to nurture more possibilities in an unconscious way, the coffee shop’s design strayed away from “excessive details”, with the designer believing them to be a form of self-indulgence. Returning to minimalistic roots, a distance from perfection was maintained to create a more free user experience.

    In contrast to real train stations, Slab Town K11 decided to take a minimalist approach to information display. After several rounds of discussions on how to present detailed information about their coffee to the customer, the designer and Slab Town ultimately decided to prioritize human connection over impersonal digital displays. By choosing to have their baristas present the coffee information directly to the customer, Slab Town K11 is rejecting the use of digital screens to optimize for traffic flow in favor of the customer experience.

    Slab Town K11 is reminiscent of a train platform, welcoming people from all over. Whether a white-collar office worker in a nearby building, or a shopping mall customer in a hurry, Slab Town K11 aims to provide a concrete jungle and a resting place for people looking for freedom and chasing their dreams in the big city.

    Design: pronounced design
    Design Team: Andy Lin, Yi Han, CiCi Wang
    Photography: Alessandro Wang