One of Oklahoma City’s most esteemed coffee roasters had access to limited funds and a humble garage just north of downtown–using only these two ingredients they hoped to craft a vibrant communal hub within an all but abandoned city block.
By surgically applying their limited budget to high-impact items including a transparent façade, well-defined patio, and welcoming service area, the design team was able to synthesize a first-rate retail space for less than $20 per square foot including fixtures and equipment. In order to help achieve this economic efficiency, the architects designed and fabricated furniture for the space.
Elemental Coffee has helped create an upper downtown community that had not previously been realized. By rejecting isolated seating arrangements in favor of communal benches and an open floor plan, the design encourages impromptu conversations between strangers. The intentional continuity between front and back of house allows patrons to get a first hand experience of the coffee roasting and brewing processes.
This openness combined with the unpretentious interior design has fostered a strong sense of community ownership–a sentiment which is now spilling out of Elemental’s front door into the street in the form of neighborhood events such as Better Block OKC and the monthly H+8th night market. Undoubtedly, Elemental Coffee proves that good design instills value far greater than the cost of its implementation.
*Completed as Butzer Gardner Architects