Pauline's coffee bar in Cape Town is decorated almost entirely with sisal
Pauline's Cape Town coffee bar sisal interiors

Sisal covers almost every surface in Pauline's stand-up coffee bar

Tactile surfaces made from sisal plant fibres helped Master Studio foster an inviting atmosphere inside this pared-back coffee bar in Cape Town, South Africa.

Located in Cape Town's buzzing Sea Point neighbourhood, Pauline's has been designed by Master Studio to feature a "minimalist interior that retains its warmth".

Interiors of Pauline's cafe in Cape Town, designed by Master Studio

"I think that it can be difficult to strike the balance between minimalism, warmth and texture," Yaniv Chen, co-founder of the studio, told Dezeen.

"We achieve this by using a maximum of two or three materials for an entire space – this idea pushes you to use materials in weird and wonderful ways."

Interiors of Pauline's cafe in Cape Town, designed by Master Studio

The coffee bar occupies a retail unit that had previously been left empty due to its awkwardly narrow floor plan. It now boasts a slim counter running around its perimeter that allows customers to comfortably stand and drink locally-roasted coffee.

Sisal – a natural fibre made from the Mexican plant, agave sisalana – covers all of the cafe's walls and the central service counter which slants down towards the floor.

Interiors of Pauline's cafe in Cape Town, designed by Master Studio

"I've always had an affinity to the design style of the 1970s and 1980s. There's this sense of nostalgia for me – the conversation pits, the wall to wall carpets," explained Chen. "I wanted to use this as an abstract idea and somehow translate it into a contemporary context."

"The vast scale in which the sisal was used emotes a natural organic harmony that brings stillness to the space, allowing one to pause," added the studio.

Interiors of Pauline's cafe in Cape Town, designed by Master Studio

Timber has been used for the floorboards, shelves, and to create a simple menu board. Composite material Corian forms the surface of the high counters, selected by the studio for its "seamless" appearance.

Huge panels of glazing align to create the front facade of the bar, emitting a deep yellow glow onto the adjacent street as night falls.

Other than a couple of ceramic vases filled with wildflowers, decor has been kept to a minimum. Flashes of colour are provided by packets of the cafe's own coffee beans that are openly on display.

Interiors of Pauline's cafe in Cape Town, designed by Master Studio

Master Studio isn't the only designer to make use of sisal in retail spaces. Back in 2014 Arquitectura-G used the textile to upholster stepped display platforms in a Barcelona homeware boutique.

However, Pauline's is more tactile than the coffee bars that have recently appeared on Dezeen: Voice of Coffee in Japan and % Arabica in Hong Kong both feature raw concrete interiors.

Photography is by Sarah De Pina.

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Pauline's Cape Town coffee bar sisal interiors
Pauline's Cape Town coffee bar sisal interiors
Pauline's Cape Town coffee bar sisal interiors
Pauline's Cape Town coffee bar sisal interiors