300 beer cases make up the furniture in this pop-up coffee shop in Shenyang

Three hundred beer crates form furnishings of Shenyang's Fatface Coffee shop

Bottle-green beer crates are stacked to construct a long counter and matching stools in this pop-up coffee shop in Shenyang, China, designed by architecture practice Baicai.

Installed in the city's Window Gallery for a month, the pop-up shop belongs to local cafe Fatface Coffee. Its interior makes use of 300 beer cases to create a central bar and stools with cork seat pads.

Interior image of a person sat at the counter at Shenyang cafe Fatface coffee
Shenyang's Fatface Coffee pop-up uses beer crates as furniture

Shortlisted in the small interiors category of the 2022 Dezeen Awards, the design hopes to merge Shenyang's love of beer with its emerging coffee culture.

"Shenyang is a city beaming with a love for beer," local studio Bacai explained. "The city's fondness for beer is expressed in its popularity across the streets and its ever-presence in the daily converse of the residents."

"How can the coffee culture respond to the city's attachment to beer? This pop-up shop aspires to explore the energising dynamics between the two seemingly opposite cultures."

Image of the beer crate counter at Shenyang cafe Fatface coffee
Cork was used to form seat pads for the stools

The studio says it chose to work with beer crates as they are economical, modular, reusable and help to create a strong visual identity inside the Fatface Coffee shop.

Custom-made cork seat pads sit on top of the beer cases to form the stools, while a glass panel was cut into shape to create the bar's countertop.

"The strategy explores the endless possibilities of what a beer case could be: a bar counter, seating of various heights, an exhibition stage or a screen to hide the frameworks for water and electricity," said Baicai.

"The project experiments with the confluence between beer and coffee, bridging meaningful dialogues between what is local and what is imported."

Image from behind the beer crate counter top at Shenyang cafe Fatface coffee
The bar counter is topped with a glass sheet

Fatface Coffee's large central bar was designed to challenge the conventional floor plan of a cafe, and according to Baicai creates a more open, democratic space where baristas and guests can circulate freely.

Other projects shortlisted in the small interiors category at this year's Dezeen Awards include a yellow attic conversion in Antwerp and a serene timber and travertine reading room in Shanghai by Atelier Tao+C.

The photography is by Topia Vision.

More images and plans

Plan of the coffee shop in Shenyang with 300 beer cases make up the furniture
Plan
Axonometric drawing of the coffee shop in Shenyang with 300 beer cases make up the furniture
Drawing
300 beer cases make up the furniture in this pop-up coffee shop in Shenyang
300 beer cases make up the furniture in this pop-up coffee shop in Shenyang
300 beer cases make up the furniture in this pop-up coffee shop in Shenyang
300 beer cases make up the furniture in this pop-up coffee shop in Shenyang