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Meron Cișmigiu

Meron Cișmigiu

Authors: arh. Octavian Cazacu, arh. Alina Filipoiu, arh. int. Bianca Abacioaiei, arh. int. Alice Straton, arh. Anca Dumitrescu, arh. int. Ina Stamate
Firm: 441 Design Powerhouse

Client: Meron Coffee
Iluminat: Space Lighting
Tencuiala decorativa: Baumit Romania
Photo: 441 Design Powerhouse, Sabin Prodan

Authors’ Comment

A café is always more than just a place for a simple respite over a cup of coffee. It's a context for debates, for ideas taking on new meanings, for people you watch passing by through the windows. It's a place of atmosphere, of a certain complicity with a particular table or booth, with a mirror that catches your eye for a moment, with the aroma of freshly ground coffee. It is, fundamentally, also a relationship you form with the materials used to shape the space, with the textures or curves of the furniture, or with the elasticity of the fabrics, as is the case, for example, at Meron Cișmigiu, an experiential café in the heart of Bucharest (50 Queen Elisabeth Boulevard). The team at 441 Design Powerhouse has laid out a design framework here that, in line with Meron's new stylistic direction based on simplicity and uniformity, exudes that welcoming warmth that invites you to feel good. The change is visible right from the exterior with the new illuminated logo box of Meron, which, thanks to its new, simple, and contemporary design, complements the interwar building without distracting from its architecture. The two spaces of the café have been unified by common stylistic notes, ranging from the rough finishes on the walls and ceiling or the fine ones of the glass bricks to mirrors or furniture. The suggestive power of natural materials—wood, ceramic, and glass—forms the backbone of the decor and is visible from the first space, which also serves as the café's entrance. Here, your gaze is immediately drawn to the decorative glass brick wall behind the bar, highlighted by ambient LED strip lighting. Dynamic, tempered curves intersect here, a motif borrowed from the building's windows. Thus appears the cylindrical cashier area, accompanied by a spherical light fixture that becomes the volume's curved counterpart in the brew bar area, both clad in a walnut veneer finish that contrasts with the rest of the warm and neutral tones. Beyond the bar, window-level booths await coffee lovers, and those attentive to detail will notice a mirrored cladding on the lower part that is also found at the bar. The dynamic atmosphere is created both by the play of textures, lights, and reflections and by the juxtaposition of warm materials (wood) with cold ones (glass, ceramic, metal, and mirror). Added to this is the subtle contrast of shapes, represented, for example, by the zigzag light fixture above the bar, echoed in the silhouette of the booth in the glass brick wall area of the second space. Reaching this, we delight in Meron's intimate part, whose window overlooks a street leading to Cișmigiu Park. The rounded shape of the window is reflected in a mirrored niche, where the decorative wall is also reflected. Connecting to the first space, this is highlighted by an oversized circular light fixture. Under this accent light, one can admire the common chromatic denominator of the entire layout, also found in the bathrooms and the access corridor to them. The epoxy flooring and the use of decorative paint on the walls and ceiling continue here. Mirrors are not lacking either, giving the entire café a sense of depth.