A café, a reading room, a bookshop and even a coffee roaster is all that Kahawa, the former milk bar in Poznań, Poland, offers, renovated by the team of architects and designers of Atelier Starzak Strebicki. The aim was to create a place dedicated to book lovers, who appreciate a good coffee in a welcoming environment, inspired by the owners’ passions: reading, and the Africa of childhood memories.
The café is divided into three zones which define the different functional areas in the space. The front area, crowned by a high concrete ceiling, includes a bar, a cafeteria and a bookcase mounted on the podium. Here we find light wooden stools lined up along the windowsill, comfortable armchairs – revamped from Józef Chierowski’s iconic Models 366 – combined with low coffee tables, and soft cushions thrown on the wooden podium steps where one can also sit for a short read or a quick coffee.
The second area, located at the back and equipped with a large wooden table surrounded by upholstered chairs, is arranged both as a communal dining room and as a room dedicated to teamwork and workshops. The entrance to this area of Kahawa is outlined on the floor. The original flooring of the terrace (only occasionally patched with new fragments) gives way to teak flooring (again – only where necessary supplemented by new ash boards).
The third area extends behind a glass wall that allows guests sitting behind the table to peer into the heart of Kahawa, where coffee is roasted and packaged. The shiny black roaster contrasts with the white walls revealing the brick structure.
This tendency to uncover original layers and textures, to preserve what is most beautiful in the geometry of walls and floors is the overall design idea of the project. Frugal and discreet tones, natural materials and ample lighting frame the vivid colours brought by potted plants, books and coffee-loving readers.