THE RETAIL ELVIS, REBORN
Pentagram Architects - New York - James Biber, Michael Zweck-Bronner, Dan Maxfield, James Bowman, Suzanne Holt
Statement: Starbucks is the Elvis of coffee: a remarkable original with a dedicated following, eventually bloated by success and sycophancy. Starbucks will have to evolve to remain the leader, and changing the “physical plant” should be a priority.
Our new chain has a new name: *$. *$ is based on differing paces and differing social relationships to the product and the place. *$ creates two sets of gradated experiences: fast to slow, social to private. It welcomes those of us who want our fix immediately and to go, as well as those of us who want to savor the coffee and sit for a bit (or all day) to write the great American novel—or just do a bit of e-mailing.
The fake-casual current stores are a homey (or homely) attempt to induce chattiness and engender a homemade, local feel. The new stores are quite the opposite: simple, fast, efficient, universal. No more cups and mugs for sale, no more music CDs (which should be a separate business), no more coffee machines and bagged beans, no more decorative bric-a-brac. Just coffee, food, service, newspapers, and the aroma of coffee.PUSH-AND-PULL BAR
William E. Massie/Cranbrook Academy of Art - Bloomfield Hills, Mich. - William E. Massie, Scott Abukoff, Lawrence Ha
Statement: The program considers a typical strip-mall, infill site. The reimaging of the corporate café chain envisions an automated, barista bar–centered retail space. An enclosed bar expedites beverages and condiments between exterior and interior service windows, filtering the “to-go” crowd from the “lounge” crowd. Customers are directed around the barista bar in a fluid process while minimizing congestion.
Push and pull: The strip-mall condition offers an opportunity to reconsider street café culture. The bar punctures the exterior glass curtain wall, revealing a street-accessible service window and diverting traffic into the retail space. The sidewalk is pulled in to create a courtyard café and lounge area. The lounge houses a cluster of autonomous seating units, providing an added level of privacy and intimacy.
This proposal responds to a service culture of product refinement, automation, and delivery as a dialogue with emerging technologies and trends.