In Aranya-Qinhuangdao, China, Zolaism Café by B.L.U.E Architecture invites visitors in to escape the pace of the city. With the inclusion of man-made stones that recall the mountains and the seas, the design aims to highlight the ability of architecture to create emotion and memory.
The architecture of the cafe is carefully orchestrated to look improvisational. Centred around organic forms, the rocks supporting the cave define three sides of glass enclosures. The different rock column sizes conceal the steel structure that divides the space. Furthermore, private restrooms can be found in two of the stone formations.
Chairs and tables are located freely throughout the spaces between the mountain rocks, lending a sense of fluidity and openness, and providing a constantly changing spatial experience. The natural texture of the concrete reveals a course and heavy feel while presenting a strong visual contrast with the light and transparent glass surfaces.
Frameless full-height glass curtain walls bring an ample amount of sunlight into the interior spaces, resulting in a dynamic play of light and shadows that gives visitors the feeling of being outside in nature.
The architects explain the design process began with 1:100 scaled models in foam, which evolved into clay sculptures at a scale of 1:10. With the help of computer 3D modelling, the idea transformed into vision, following a GRC pouring process. Finished forms were transported to the site for assembly where designers gradually refined a more organic looking scheme.