Light-filled, airy and bustling, BBA's design for Sightglass on 20th offers the comfort of an old-world café with the distilled simplicity of a sailboat cabin. We chose a refined material palette of marble, plaster, teak and dark brass to warm the double-height industrial warehouse space, while continuing the purity of spatial experience inherent in their design of Sightglass SOMA.
BBA custom-designed almost every detail in this café—fixtures, hardware, displays, finishes—envisioning a close-knit family of intricately detailed elements that reference each other, but each have their own iteration. Three custom chandeliers define the customer and employee zones, and draw the eye up toward the redwood sapwood ceiling’s chevron pattern, which was subtly introduced in the steel entry door design. Detailing of the niches for merchandise display and music equipment relate to woodwork in the bar and seating areas. The brass pastry case is a jewelry box of sorts, custom crafted and placed at standing height for optimal visibility and access.
The café’s layout nestles all its programmatic elements efficiently, including a full-production roastery with vintage Probat roaster that roasts enough to serve and sell on site, inventively designed espresso and pour-over coffee bars and customer circulation that facilitates optimal flow. The sinuous, cushioned banquette wraps the perimeter, providing for all seating needs: outward-facing single spots for people-watching, intimate nooks to share, and a group area. BBA used a mock-up with sliding parts to determine the ideal dimensions for each seating area.
From initial concept through construction observation, BBA’s role included space planning, coordination with city agencies, and collaboration with the fabricators, baristas and general contractor.