Coffee, as a material, has never exhibited itself in the world as that of anything other than a vessel in which to hold chemical materials for our consumption. Perhaps it is because of our detachment with coffee, as commodity for consumption rather than plant and bean, that we often perceive coffee grounds as material waste. The focus is so largely on the end result, on that perfect cup of coffee, that we have become detached from all its embedded cultural, economic, physical, and environmental footprint. In 2011 alone, we consumed and produced 8.7 billion pounds of coffee grounds. To get an idea of scale - if we were to replace the Empire State Building’s concrete with coffee, we could build roughly 2100 Empire State Buildings in a year. All of this is revelation that perhaps we understand very little about the power of such a commodity. Because if we did realize its power - as commodity, culture, and drug - we would realize that coffee is a huge waste, a missed opportunity as grounds for reuse. We are bound to the grounds of our own waste, we must turn over these used grounds, and build.
The Coffee Bar is designed in its curvaceous form to exemplify an assembly of panels that could be produced in no other way. The Bars form was designed to offer nooks around its entirety, as a spatial form, for the celebration and consumption of coffee in all its form. In its footprint, are nestled spaces for coffee presses, cups, as well as cream and sugar if you so choose.
The repetition of rib like forms created from assembly of all the panels emphasizes both its structure and its design as a digital file in construction. The bar itself is made up of 78 custom tiles which utilize the strength of 3D printing to rapidly produce unique forms. The tiles took about two weeks to print and fabricate while assembly took about an hour.
From parts to whole, the goal was to create a series of panels that would aggregate together to create a much larger form. Breaking architecture down to its building blocks, literally in the form of its pieces as blocks, bricks, and panels, we can more easily and realistically use 3D printing in an architectural context.