Fčil Espresso Bar

How can a phenomenological approach to design choreograph relationships between body and space?

Fčil Espresso Bar is an experimental interior design project that pivots on the idea of relationships - between space, senses, and psyche. The design - approached through the lens of phenomenology - explores the idea of subjective experiences of instinctive sensations. The project engages with the analysis of perception, sensation, and effect in relation to the body and the field it occupies.

Located in the Moravian town of Uherské Hradiště in the Czech Republic, the intimate 20-square-meter espresso bar presents possibilities for varied spatial encounters through explorative play and movement. Fčil Espresso Bar manifests as a network of harmonious spatial situations encouraging embodied action - the way bodies intuitively occupy their surroundings.

The first instance unfurls at the entry vestibule, where a neon sign on the underside of the ceiling draws the eyes upwards. Entering the space, visitors are directed to a large circular aperture that intimately envelops the coffee counter, highlighting the heart of the design. In line with the client brief, the barista is made the protagonist of the space by designing a poetic proscenium-like setting that is visually linked to other zones.

One is invited to crouch at the aperture to discover colorful coffee packages. Shelves on the side walls exhibit ceramics at eye level that people can interact with visually and haptically. The menu behind the barista redirects one’s gaze towards the far end of the bar, forging depth in the room.

As befitting the function of an espresso bar against a cafe, the space offers varying possibilities of seating for a quick drink. There is a stepped-seating nook by the barista, bar stools at a broad window, and a bench along the outer facade. Each spot captures a changed relationship with the space. The stepped seating with movable table components is meant to evoke informality and liveliness. Its adjacency to the bar counter fosters a friendly relationship with the barista.

The stepped seating invites users to be playful, its levels shifting the views and perceptions one experiences. On the highest level, one’s vision is above a horizon of hanging plants - looking at the space from an almost aerial perspective. The middle level creates an illusion of the tree outside as if extending into the indoor space through the indoor foliage. Apart from being visually enticing, this biophilic element is incorporated to add humidity to the room to enhance the aroma of coffee.

The atmospheric design evokes an emotional and bodily response . Texture, material, colors, and lighting are used to create an architecture of experience. The soft white terrazzo and milky walls contrast the black surfaces, creating a neutral background for the colorful ceramics and products to stand out. The hanging foliage and dark surfaces create an ambience that is meant to feel intrinsically restorative and affect positively.

A repertoire of sensory encounters activates a stimulating experience while the colors and plants cocoon a balanced atmosphere. Playing on oscillating sensorial inputs, the spatial narrative offers various possibilities of interaction through the application of detail, material, and scale. The design intends for its users to feel the space through actions of motion and rest that it enables them to take.

Address: Na Morávce 20, Uherské Hradiště Typology: Interior Architecture Client: Jizba Luhačovice Builders: Stolařství Pavel Kozubík Botanists: Kytku do bytku
In Press: Fčil Espresso Bar has been covered in Lukáš Hejlík’s highly successful culinary travelogue books such as Gastromap Lukáš Hejlík - 365 and 555 - Trips with Lukáš Hejlík's Gastromap. The space has also featured in the HBO max lifestyle documentary show Czech It Out! (Spolu a hladoví).

“Unusual, imaginative interior, very nice yet professional service. I highly praise the effort to minimize the ecological footprint; Mothers can sit with their prams out on a bench in the window…” Lucka Na Větřáku

Truly delicious coffee plus aesthetic and smart interiors. I loved the water tap hidden in the seating arrangements as well as interesting coffee tables...” Anita Fanc

“…[very pleasant] environment, which is really thought out in detail and it's unbelievable what you can come up with in such a small space.” Kata Livigno

“The modern and modestly furnished interior is proof that you don't have to have a large space to create a good impression and a pleasant atmosphere.❤️” Marie L

Text: Ankitha Gattupalli Pictures: Jakub Viktora Animations: Tharun CM