Design firm Estudio Yeye used a limited palette of colours and materials to create a "simple and efficient" design for a cafe that serves up Mexican coffee.
The Negro Blanco Café, or Black White Coffee, is located in Chihuahua City in northwestern Mexico. The cafe specialises in offering award-winning coffee grown on farms in the country, from Veracruz to Chiapas.
The cafe's name was inspired by the common ingredients in the beverages its serves – water, milk and roasted coffee beans. These elements also informed the shop's interior design and graphics, which were created by Estudio Yeye, a local multidisciplinary firm.
While conceiving the project – which had a limited budget – the studio's aim was to create an "essential and sincere brand" without any gimmicks.
"Our graphic system and interior design are simple and efficient, so that the protagonist is coffee at all times," said the team in a project description.
The pared-down aesthetic is applied both inside and out. The street-facing facade is composed of grey and white surfaces, with the cafe's name spelled out in small black letters. The lower portion of the exterior is lined with a concrete bench and planters with spiky ferns.
Visitors pass through a glazed door and step into a single room divided into two zones – one for customers and one for drink preparation. The team used a restrained palette of colours and materials, including concrete flooring, white furniture and a black-painted ceiling.
Perforated walls made of blonde wood are the shop's most distinctive feature. The pegboards have a functional purpose, as they allow signage and other elements to be moved around as needed.
Visually speaking, the endless rows of evenly spaced holes lend a sense of controlled rhythm to the space. They also are meant to evoke the "empathetic side of the activities around coffee", the designers said.
The circular geometry is seen in other components in the cafe, such as a disk-shaped light fixture affixed to one wall. In the centre of the shop is a black high-top table held up by columns anchored to the ceiling.
The table is surrounded by rounded bar stools, where guests can sit and taste different types of coffee.
The design team notes that Negro Blanco Café is particularly unique because of its focus on coffee grown in Mexico. In Chihuahua City and elsewhere, shops often peddle food and merchandise from other countries.
"In Mexico, as in other third world countries in Latin America, solving commercial space is a challenge due to the economic situation and the proliferation of foreign investments," the team said.
The team hopes their design will help draw in new types of customers and elevate the perception of Mexican coffee, so that it can "be competitive against foreign brands".
Like many places in the world, Mexico has a vibrant coffee culture. Other cafes in the country include the Futura-designed Motín cafe, which features splashes of pink and blue, and a Tierra Garat coffeehouse by Esrawe Studio that has exterior walls clad in angled clay tiles.
Photography is by Orlando Portillo.
Interior design and graphic design: Yeye Design
Project leader: Orlando Portillo
Project team: Karina Ortiz, Natalia Jasso, Orlando Portillo