Only If designs café for City of Saints Coffee Roasters

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Only If, a New York City-based design practice, has completed a new retail location for City of Saints Coffee Roasters at 3 Bryant Park, New York, NY. The coffee bar is Only If’s first collaboration with City of Saints, and the fourth retail location for the rising coffee roasting brand based in Bushwick, Brooklyn.


The interior design of the space is based on shades of a sea-foam green color that builds on and defines City of Saints’ brand and identity. The color is realized through unconventional and industrial materials, including translucent green fiberglass grating, green quartzite countertop, green suede upholstery, and green epoxy paint. Trend forecaster WGSN has identified this shade of green, a gender-neutral color with an oxygenating, fresh tone that aligns nature with science and technology, to become increasingly important in fashion and interiors in 2020 and into the next decade.

Coffee is prepared and served from behind a raised central island, which is clad in the translucent green fiberglass grating. The infrastructure such as espresso machines, grinders, nitro brew taps, pour over stations, drinking water taps, pastry display, and a platform elevator are seamlessly integrated into the rectangular island. The island also choreographs the movement of customers into loop, from point of sale to drink pick-up to a condiment station. This organization facilitates optimization and speed, including the workflow of the baristas and customer circulation.

A back room is designed as a seating area with a continuous banquette on its perimeter. Its materials and indirect lighting is intended to produce a calmer, slower space. As coffee bars increasingly take on new functions, loose tables and outlets allow the room to be used as an informal working or meeting space

The material palette also includes grey rubber floor, grey epoxy walls, mirror, and custom stainless steel handrails and hardware. The project builds on Only If’s previous award-winning design for Voyager Espresso (2015), which attempts to define a new language for coffee retail that moves beyond the clichés of reclaimed wood, subway tile, and exposed Edison bulbs.

All drawings credited as Copyright © Only If Architecture PLLC.
Photographs © Michael Vahrenwald / Esto.