Seesaw Coffee: an indoor space as an outdoor garden

Seesaw Coffee is located in a bookstore on the top level of the Chaoyang Joycity Mall in Beijing. Being part of a lifestyle space, the cafe by Nota Architects aims to be independent, yet fully merged into the general space, both in terms of materiality and ambiance.

The site consists of interior landscape and a glass curtain wall facing the outdoor terrace and it is pre-defined by multiple stepped platforms accessible from one single path. In response to the context, the design features a Plank Path, a Water Surface, a Floating Hut and a Ship Deck Garden by making use of the existing floor height difference and creating a sunken plaza.

Stepping down from the bookstore onto the plank path, views of the seating area are unveiled and displayed as one moves on. Passing by the coffee bar and sales display, one enters the seating area as if walking from the path onto water and then onto the sunken deck.

The ship deck feels like casual outdoor step seating. Blocks of wood and planters customized at high and low levels form together an outdoor garden which harmonizes with the surrounding landscape. Sizes and rhythms are carefully considered to encourage use by multiple target groups and social scenarios considering comfort and a sense of security.

The main volume invites you to look at the skyline outside. Customized lamps scattered through the place as either landscape lighting or table lamps become beacons of the overall sequence of the space.

Design and info © Nota Architects

Images © Shan Liang and Shiyun Qian

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