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Design Details: Split-Level Comfort at Modern Coffee in Uptown Oakland


modern coffee space oakland

Modern Coffee’s Uptown Oakland location prior to the redesign.


Modern Coffee oakland

Modern Coffee in Uptown Oakland

Such was the design magic pulled off by 5-year-old multiroaster cafe Modern Coffee and their design partner in the project, local architecture firm Arcsine.

Aside from the obviously necessary interior makeover for the 900-square-foot space, the designers faced two primary architecture challenges: slope, and shell surfaces.

Modern Coffee’s Uptown location, its second, is in the historic Leamington Building, which sits on a heavily sloped site on Franklin St. Arcsine and Modern addressed this challenge by integrating the upper and lower levels of the store through a widened staircase, creating a split-level design that allows for a functional bar, as well as numerous seating areas with open views throughout the shop.

The design team also had to work with and around floors and ceilings made of thick concrete — the Leamington was once Oakland’s swankiest hotel after its 1926 opening — which didn’t allow for drilling for various fixtures. The result is numerous suspended light fixtures that reflect the light tiling and bar surfaces throughout the shop, and a custom floor drain system.

Modern Coffee’s Uptown shop opened last fall, and continues the multiroaster approach established at its flagship Oakland shop. The shop is open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, serving teas, baked goods and coffees from the likes of De La Paz Coffee RoastersVerve Coffee Roasters, Chromatic Coffee Co., Stumptown Coffee RoastersCounter Culture Coffee and others.

Here’s more from inside Modern’s latest spot:



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