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Artisan Coffee Shop

Muzo have created the interior of Castiglione, an artisan coffee shop located behind the National Gallery in Central London. As well as design, Muzo also delivered the build of the project as part of their specialist fit-out arm, working with experts from various disciplines.

The brief was to create an immersive, experiential space, integrating a wall-sized digital screen, displaying video to transport customers to exotic, impossible locations. A bold and exciting solution was required to tie this central concept to the sumptuousness of the coffee experience - the chosen design concept blends retro-futurism, Italian neo-classical and theatrical stage design, cleverly juxtaposing and interweaving the technological with the artistic.

In form and palette, the panelling, moulding and decorative features used throughout are reminiscent of neo-classical design – suggesting a luxury and formality that is contradicted by contrasting elements and finishes. Panelling is intercut and edged with strips of warm white LED lighting, defining and accentuating the dimensions of the space and mirrored by a room-wide grid of light set into the brushed-metal ceiling panels.

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Use of gloss and reflection is central to the concept – high-gloss oyster-white paint on walls and panelling, matched in sheen and colour in the poured resin floor, as well as metallic effects – making full use of the lighting by reflecting its glow and projecting the geometric lines across carved and painted surfaces. Sheen and glow combine to produce a compelling ambience.

The centrepiece and focal point of the cafe is an angular, faceted counter – which acts as a stark counterpoint to the surrounding decor in tone and effect. The intention was to create the sense of otherworldliness – of an object strikingly out-of-place – an object ‘fallen to earth’, which is couched within the themes of the design as a whole. In an inversion of the duality elsewhere in the design, the angular shape is both abstract and naturally mineral-like in form but finished in a classical venetian plaster and metallic wax.

The customer toilet is finished throughout in black – in contrast to the main area, flat, low-sheen, textured surfaces are utilised in combination with backlit panels and LED strips to create a sense of calm and quiet.

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