Designed by Czech studio KOGAA, GROUNDS is a coffee hub in Prague's developing area of Karlín. Tucked inside an inner yard of a vibrant office and residential street, the hub works as a neighbourhood cafe where coffee is being served straight from it’s own roastery. In order to cut the costs but also learn how the architecture and spaces relate to their production processes, the construction was made hands-on and designed-by-building together with the coffee community running the place.
Taking advantage of the overhead natural light, a translucent duplex object allows light through to the various functions of the hub, all integrated and connected within the unit.
The further spaces from the entrance are dedicated to the in-house coffee production: from the storing of the raw beans to the roasting, cleaning, and packaging processes. The built-in inner room is made for the coffee testing, functioning both as the showroom of the professional barista machines and where educational workshops and competitions are taking place. The object’s front side towards the entrance is dedicated to the cafeteria and sale of the coffee to the final users. Towards the side wall, a suspended tangerine-coloured metal staircase leads to the upper working space, enveloped by an organically shaped corrugated plastic wall. The organically designed plan allows nooks in which a variety of plants are growing and working as a source of natural air purifiers, dust collectors, and helping to keep a balance in the levels of humidity needed for the coffee processes.
The interior was built by 80% construction site waste of a previously dismantled project, applying the architect’s objective on reducing the issues related to construction site waste in the country. The suspended lights are recovered and painted industrial lamps from an inactive weapons factory, while the coffee tables are hand-made concrete pieces manufactured on site, as well as the wooden bench running along the wall and the vertical merchandise wall. The bar is made of uncoated corrugated metal sheets and the custom metal working desk was cut-out to fit all the coffee fixtures needed for the serving process.
The project is the brainchild of roasting company Rusty Nails coffee producer Rene Kralovič, who is behind various successful hospitality projects in the Czech Republic. The idea here was to expand the concept of a roastery to the public, as well as being a platform for baristas and coffee experts to educate themselves, and be part of a community.