Daughter cafe by Christopher Al-Jumah

Daughter cafe in Brooklyn has stepped seating that mimics brownstone stoops

Designer Christopher Al-Jumah has created Daughter, a community-oriented cafe in Brooklyn's Crown Heights with interiors informed by the staircases of local brownstone buildings.

Daughter is a long and narrow space defined by an L-shaped block of brown seating that can be seen from the street through the cafe's large windows.

The cafe has stooped seating
The cafe is in Brooklyn's Crown Heights neighbourhood

Interior designer Christopher Al-Jumah said that the seating, which was informed by the stoops – small staircases – of local brownstone buildings, is Daughter's standout design feature.

The indoor stoops are made from a plywood base that was given a coating of concrete and sand with a top resin coat for durability.

"We spent months researching and testing different combinations of concrete, sand, plaster and resin to get the right look, feel and durability," Al-Jumah told Dezeen.

Planters sit between the stooped seating in Daughter
Planters divide the step-like seating

Interspersed with planters, the casual seating aims to invite people into the cafe and also influenced the rest of the project's design decisions.

"Everything started from the brownstone stoop. Once a representative brownstone colour was selected, everything else in the space was designed around it to complement," explained Al-Jumah.

Daughter has exposed brick walls
A curved bar sits next to the stoops

Chairs by Danish brand Menu and an additional set of custom-made tables are placed opposite the stoops, next to the cafe's large windows that feature playful illustrations.

A curved bar designed in the same brown material as the stoops is tucked into a corner, while orb-like lights, also from Menu, glow above the stepped seating.

The furniture is positioned against exposed brick walls that are painted white in contrast to the cafe's bright yellow ceiling.

With their rough texture and appearance, the stoops are juxtaposed against smoother elements throughout the space.

"The walls have a soft white, tan colour to soften the space. Natural wood furniture and plants work as an organic complement to the stoop," said Al-Jumah.

The stooped seating is juxtaposed with smoother elements
A bright yellow roof contrasts with neutral walls

The designer explained how the vernacular architecture of the Crown Heights area informed Daughter's interior, which was designed to create an inviting community atmosphere.

"Daughter is partly Black-owned and is situated in a historically Black neighbourhood, so it was important to capture the local culture and ethos and implement it into the cafe," explained Al-Jumah.

Daughter is partly black-owned
Custom chairs are positioned across from the stepped seating

"Stooping, or sitting on the large steps in front of the local brownstone buildings, is a staple outdoor activity for the local community," he added.

"With 'community' and 'gathering' being central to the ethos of Daughter, we decided to bring the idea of stooped seating into the cafe itself."

In line with its aim to include the local community in its culture, Daughter plans to donate 10 per cent of its quarterly profits to various organisations including Ancient Song Doula, a group that seeks to eliminate infant mortality rates in the Black community.

The cafe intends to include the local community
Lighting from Menu illuminates the space

Christopher Al-Jumah is a New York-based architect, designer and founder of design studio Yalla Imshi.

Other cafe designs include a doughnut-themed cafe in Russia with walls that look almost edible and a cafe in Tokyo with brick-like tiles made from volcanic ash by design duo Formafantasma.

Photography is by Sean Davidson.