There’s a trend on the rise in Beijing, of cafés and restaurants pushing against the high-intensity rat race of city life in favour of minimalist, unobtrusive spaces. The first we published was a food court with a soothing colour and material palette; more recently, we highlighted a coffee shop boasting a built-in urban green space atop a bustling mall.

The Interstices LePur Yogurt Café is too in on the mission to decrease stress in the Beijingers who visit. Designed by the Shanghai-based boutique design practice Lukstudio, the concrete, glass and steel space is the epitome of a clean slate. Inside, the front area is meant for casual meetings and in the back is a ‘solemn’ atmosphere – with orderly booth settings – that encourages visitors to enjoy quiet time amongst themselves, as they enjoy the traditional fermented milk drinks the café offers.

Santilun, an area in the Chaoyang District where the space is located, is a busy one, dotted with popular shopping destinations, bars and restaurants. Lukstudio envisioned themselves as a necessary black sheep in Santilun: the grey rectangular façade they built to differentiate from its curvy context promises a ‘cool-down spot, in the midst of hyper-stimulating commercial activities’ upon entry.

Their site-specific concept plays up on the relationship between light and shadows that already existed at the location. Paths of light are contrasted by white surfacing and grey terrazzo – the resulting demarcation of zones helps organise the functional structure, and mirrors are used throughout to add an extra layer of dimension to the tight spaces.

The Interstices LePur Yogurt Café was submitted to the spatial design competition of the year – Frame Awards 2020. Like the project? Keep your eye out on its progress. Fancy yourself a competitor? Submit your best work here.