Catalyst roasters is a speciality coffee shop. Located in central London, Catalyst offers its own coffee blend roasted on its basement, together with a Global – Mediterranean based cuisine for breakfast, branch, lunch and dinner, and a selection of quality draft beer.
The challenge was to design an environment to host a relaxing and pleasant coffee experience, and together to partly reveal its role as a “lab” which is testing and self producing the coffee and also cooking the food served. The concept of the Catalyst design was the materiality itself, in which the designers aimed to balance the use of natural materials into the space, in order to create a warm – but not colorless space, based on texture simplicity, a humble glossiness and brightness into the grey London mood, a balance between roughness and sensitivity as a good cup of coffee has. On the shop’s ground level, the bar, the sitting area and the display selling points are located, while the basement level, becomes an always busy open lab, accessible and open to the public, with a build in coffee roaster and an open kitchen. A hole on the floor, topped with a clear glass floor, is the connection point between the 2 levels, where someone can sneak a view of the production procedure , while having a coffee.
The Catalyst is designed with much emphasis on the detail and finishes, and this is how its character is acquired. The bar is a massy stone volume made of grey “eucalyptus” granite and white marble, ending on a glass & copper bespoke fridge-cabinet for the freshly produced products served, which adds a posh glimpse on the look of the space. It is the stone heart of the Catalyst, while around it a big plywood common table is arranged, together with an also plywood and marble display furniture for the coffee bags and all the other coffee related products which are on sale on the shop. Behind the bar, a white full height glass wall is designed to serve as a massive whiteboard while giving an elegant perception on the space. The glass wall is also designed to be the revealing point of the shop flesh, when fading from white to opaque, and lets the old colors and textures on the wall be revealed again, referencing on the history and the memory of the space itself. The floor is designed based on an idea of creating carpet-like stone patterns, inside large plywood surfaces. With a reference to the bar granite bricks, a brick unit “leaves” the bar, and continues to make a stone fishbone carpet pattern on the floor, arranged close to the entrance, while in the middle of the corridor between the bar and the display, another square tile stone carpet is designed. The set up is completed with the addition of wooden chairs, and cork stools in natural color, which complete the desired minimal and natural feel of the shop. On the stairs towards the basement, an wall to temporary host work of artists is designed. By placing the wooden sticks into the desirable place, a different canvas is created each time, to hang the works of art. The basement is designed to look more busy and messy, being the pulse of the Catalyst operation. An impressive build-in coffee roaster operates here, while sacks of raw coffee beans are stacked on the floor. This is where the smell of the roasted coffee beans, perfectly blends with the aromas of cooks’ delicious dishes prepared behind the open kitchen. The set of this open basement lab is completed with storage rooms for all goods.