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At Little Cove Espresso, Studio Adjective Looks To The Sea

For Little Cove Espresso, Studio Adjective draws inspiration from the relaxing seaside locale with natural materials and a design language communicating flow and continuity.

At Little Cove Espresso, Studio Adjective Looks To The Sea

Studio Adjective was established by Emily Ho and Wilson Lee only two years ago but has already garnered much attention for its projects driven by strong spatial narratives and material experimentation. Case in point: Little Cove Espresso is a café in Hong Kong’s coastal suburb of Sai Kung that has quietly been making waves with its design.

ittle Cove Espresso Studio Adjective seating area

The Melbourne-inspired setting is laid back and minimal but look closer and one observes attentive details paying homage to its locale. Large double-height windows open into a light-filled, high-ceiling interior that melds seamlessly with the street.Curved details abound: an arch etched into the wall, a corner wall with a subtly protruding curved edge for potted plants, fluid lines in the custom-designed tables and benches, the sculptural dark oak panels on the grey marble-topped coffee bar counter whose repeated wave pattern mimics sea waves.

Little Cove Espresso Studio Adjective shadows

In the afternoon when the bright sunlight shines in, undulating shadows are cast upon the beige terrazzo floor, which slopes up in a gently fluid motion to fuse with the barista counter on one side of the cafe, and upturns to become a bench on the other side.

“The use of curved details has been inspired by the brand’s coastal café concept and also the logo’s wave pattern. We tried to translate the identity into different spatial and furniture details in the café to create a clean and subtle, and also bold and unique signature,” says Lee, Studio Adjective’s Design Director.

ittle Cove Espresso Studio Adjective counter

Behind the bar and kitchen is a plane of duck-egg blue tiles that reference the colour of the ocean. The natural oak timber used in the furniture and bar counter contributes to the relaxed, coastal atmosphere while metal applied to the bar counter top and outdoor furniture contrasts with an industrial vibe. Bulbous lights hanging low in the café lend a graphical touch.

The spatial flow designed by Lee is functional, but it also caters to the different behaviours in a café. “The coffee bar and kitchen, as the key focus of professional display by baristas and chefs, is combined as an L-shaped, sculptural work station on the right; it serves the purpose of a quick takeaway point at the shop front. The seating area is a combination of bench seating along the left-hand wall for individuals and small groups. A more communal atmosphere is created in the centre of the coffee shop with large tables to create a busy vibe,” describes Lee. Outdoor seating can also be connected to the interior by opening up the sliding doors in between.

The abundant use of natural materials provides warmth and comfort, and the curved details accentuate the visual flow of movement through the space. This results in an inviting and relaxing space that feels at home within its breezy neighbourhood.


Photography by Studio Adjective Team and Dick Liu (courtesy of Studio Adjective).

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