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Hongkong Minicafé, Absence from Island, Foto: dypiem

Hong Kong’s Australian Sun in a Mini-Café

Like a built ray of sunshine, the little café gleams forth from the plinth of a dismal-looking concrete high-rise. The colour was inspired by the Australian sunset. A group of Hong Kong Chinese who had studied, worked and shared a passion for good coffee in Australia initiated this project upon their return home. One of them has now become a successful barista; another is just as successful as a PR manager. For them, the café is a place where they can indulge in good memories of Australia and share their good coffee with the locals. They call their café Today Is Long (TIL for short), and they hope to make it into a social meeting place.

A warm red-orange shade distinguishes the space, which measures a mere 30 m2. The colour is also a reference to Uluru, the famous sandstone monolith in northern Australia. The fired ceramic tiles on the lower portion of the façade are meant to recall the earthy texture of the sandstone.

The sun setting on the horizon is evoked in various ways by semicircles on the façade. One takes the form of a short tunnel that functions as a welcoming archway at the entrance; it guides customers from hectic city life into the calm, relaxed atmosphere of the café. A semicircular indentation in the wall is devoted to the take-away counter. The third, tipped semicircle is the largest window, which displays the café and allows extensive natural light indoors. Inside, a full circle, part indentation and part painted, creates the background for the seating area. A narrow bar table stands by the façade so that customers, particularly dog owners, can enjoy their coffee outside and also get a peek inside. Thanks to the café’s direct proximity to the University of Hong Kong, which is home to many foreign students, the crowd here is young and diverse. The plan to create a social meeting place has turned out well.

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DETAIL 11/2021

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