Tucked inside an arena in Nanjing, China, Fishtank designed by Office AIO is not your typical cafe location but a whimsical, out-of-the-world experience.
Located inside an arena in Nanjing, the site was previously a storage room with a cold grey exterior, but the design team saw this as an opportunity to create a recognised brand. The interior contrasts against the chaos of the concrete city with its soft white terrazzo floor and warm grey plaster ceiling, creating a calming and bright environment.
The bar area features blocks of differing heights and configurations, accentuating the irregularities of the site with a whimsical touch. Customers can observe the brewing act, learn about their palette with baristas and chat about greater coffee cultures at the movable stools surrounding the bars. The C-shaped bench made of Corian lines the perimeter wall of the site in varying depths, providing patrons with their own space to enjoy their coffee. The bespoke tables are finished in acrylic with warm oak and the brand's pale green, with stools in tan leather and raw steel from FRAMA selected for their "super-normal" expression. Fishtank is a unique and thoughtfully designed space that elevates the coffee shop experience to another level.
The design is not just about the interior space, but also the way it connects with the outside world. The glass facade lightly brightens up the space and hints at the grid lines of the pre-existing panels. Once inside, patrons are invited to congregate around the wall-mounted bar or to relax in their own nook created by moving around the cushions and small tables. Fishtank is a place to escape from the chaos of the outside world and immerse oneself in a tranquil and welcoming environment.