On Design Decoded, a terrific column on the Smithsonian’s blog, writer Sarah C. Rich offers evidence that DIY culture is influencing the places where we shop. The article references Sightglass Coffee, a coffee bar and roaster located in San Francisco, California, where the vast majority of the 4,000-square-foot space is populated by roasting and packaging machines that serve as functional decoration. With all the sites and sounds of factory machination, customers feel as if they are part of the experience. “When you give over a whole bunch of space to the craft, that elevates the craft,” says Seth Boor, an architect who worked on the design of Sightglass Coffee. “When you walk in, the experience isn’t about you being comfortable and serving you and retailing to you, it’s about craft and making and production.”
More than just a matter of spatial concern, the interior at Sightglass reflects our increasing interest in seeing how the goods we buy are made. A simple cup of coffee might just taste that much fuller and mean more if we get to watch someone hand-select and roast the beans. Humans will always be naturally curious about how things work, but perhaps a newfound emphasis on process within the retail setting will inspire interest in other crafts.
Have you noticed more retail shops designed to highlight the behind-the-scenes process?
Chappell Ellison is a designer, writer and design writer. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York where she serves as a contributor for The Etsy Blog and design columnist for GOOD.