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Design Details: The Modular Greenspace Interior at Home Cafe in Beijing

beijing modular cafe plants

Photos by Penda.

More than just casual drinking and dining spots, cafes in some of the world’s most heavy polluted cities can provide a moment of respite for one’s physical wellbeing.

Such was the thinking behind a new modular coffee bar interior design from the Beijing-based firm Penda, which was commissioned by the property developer Hongkun to create a concept for the Home Café brand. Two locations have been unveiled in Beijing and Tianjin, and more may soon spread throughout densely populated Chinese cities.

(related: These Are Some of the Best Coffee Bar Designs in All of Australia)

Penda says the overarching goal was to create a space for visitors “to take a clean breath of fresh air.” To this end, the firm designed a structural framework of steel bars, in which modular wooden fittings contain any number of elements, most notably easy-to-grow, dry-soil plants like spider plants, aloe, sword fern, marble queen and herbs.

(related: Retail Design Notes: The Streetscape Coffee Shop Parklet)

steel frames plants China cafe

Plants were chosen to slowly take over the upcycled steel frames.

As the plants grow, or as programming may change within the defined cafe spaces, wooden boxes of various sizes can be placed throughout the modular system, creating a living, breathing environment that may never appear the same twice to repeat visitors. Penda has more on the interior’s potential to naturally evolve:

The structural grid offers a space, where various cubic elements can be implemented. Boxes of plants, books, and lights on different levels create various densities for the interior. By organizing the cubes, the modular system allows a flexible assembly for different occasions.

The growth of the plants will offer a varying appearance for returning costumers. Vine plants and ivy are seeded inside some pots. As they grow along the framework and slowly take over the steel, the plants will become a main design feature of the cafes and attract customers to return to a constantly alternating space.


1 Comment


The idea of “modular coffee bar interior design” is simple superb. Great way to make the most of available space in a creative way.

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